Cardamom may face another bad year due to heat, low rains
Interestingly, the rally in cardamom price happened without the support from export.
Commodity Summary MCX
With harvest only a few months away, the cardamom plants in the main growing region of Idukki district in Kerala have already been affected. “If it rains in the next 15 days, severity of the damage will be less but still the output will be low,” said grower KS Mathew. Last year, heavy rains and flood led to almost 50 per cent fall in the crop, which is mainly grown in Kerala. As a result, the prices rose to its highest in a decade at Rs 1,500 per kg. At the Multi Commodity Exchange, the April contract for delivery is hovering around Rs 1,600 per kg. The production was around 10,000 tonnes during the last harvest. “Given the current conditions, the next season output will be about that level,” Mathew said.
Interestingly, the rally in cardamom price happened without the support from export. The export has come to a virtual standstill for over eight months with Saudi Arabia banning food products with pesticide residues. The Gulf country is the largest buyer of Indian cardamom. But it now looks like the export will pick up in the coming months.
Exporters said Saudi Arabia has allowed consignments with certificates from some approved labs in India including that of Spices Board. “The consignments will be subject to final approval by Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA),” said major exporter SPGR Nityanandan. As Ramdan festival is nearing, some buyers in Saudi Arabia has already started importing in small lots 2 to 5 tonnes.
Usually, the country purchases large quantities before the fasting begins. “They are buying it at a risk. With local prices at Rs 1,500 per kg, we are selling at a high price of $22-24 per kg,” Nityanandan said.
The production in Guatemala, the largest cardamom producer, was low this year. The Guatemalan stock which hits the market by December is almost over now.