KOCHI: After a year of bumper crop and sluggish prices that saw exports touch a new high, small cardamom is facing bleak prospects triggered by an extended dry spell.
Growers believe cardamom prices may touch the Rs 1,000 per kg mark given the expected delay in fresh arrivals and shortfall in the crop. “Normally, fresh crop starts arriving in the market in July. But this time, the new arrivals are expected in full swing only by September, which could raise prices sharply,” said KS Mathew, former president of Cardamom Growers Association. Small cardamom prices, which were hovering around Rs 550 per kg some months ago, are now around Rs 750 per kg and rising. The June cardamom futures at MCX ruled at Rs 850 per kg on Tuesday.
The next season crop has suffered damage due to dry weather and the pre-monsoon showers in May haven’t helped redeem it. Carry over stock from last year’s harvest is driving the daily cardamom auctions in Kerala and Tamil Nadu as arrivals have petered off. The rising price could hamper cardamom exports that peaked last year at 5,500 tonne, valued at Rs 450 crore.
The quantity increased 45% and the value by nearly 40% from a year ago. The previous highest was 4,650 tonne, valued at Rs 363 crore, in 2011-12.
“As production was high, Indian exporters could ship cardamom at competitive prices. But this time, there has been no harvesting since April, which has pushed up the prices,” said PC Punnoose, general manager at Kerala Cardamom Processing and Marketing Cooperative Society.
Cheaper cardamom from Guatemala flooded the Gulf markets after January, resulting in subdued demand for the Indian variety. This resulted in an excess supply in the domestic market.