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Indian pepper too hot to handle, loses out to cheap Vietnam stuff

Vietnam is selling pepper at $2,800 per tonne, less than half the price of $6,000/tonne by India.

, ET Bureau|
Jul 12, 2019, 12.39 PM IST
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Indian black pepper continues to lose ground to the cheaper Vietnamese variety in the world market while increasing illegal imports through Nepal are keeping domestic prices in check. Vietnam is selling the commodity at $2,800 per tonne, less than half the price of $6,000 per tonne commanded by the Indian variety.

“Vietnam is currently dominating the global market. Even Indonesian pepper, at $3,200 per tonne, is cheaper than ours,” said Rajiv Palicha, chairman of the All India Spices Exporters Forum. India has been losing its competitive edge in pepper exports in the past few years as production has increased in Vietnam, Indonesia and Brazil.

In 2017-18, pepper exports from India slumped 40 per cent compared to those two years ago to 16,840 tonnes, the lowest in recent times. In 2018-19, as per data from the Spices Board, shipments fell 25 per cent year-on-year in the nine months to December 2018. Exporters said shipments for the full financial year could be 15,000 tonnes. Significantly, majority of the shipments from India are value added exports of imported varieties, mostly from Vietnam. The share of Indian-origin pepper in exports has gone down as the spice from other countries has become cheaper.

Domestic pepper prices are hovering around ₹350 per kg. While the import of Vietnamese pepper through Sri Lanka has diminished with increased monitoring, illegal flow of pepper through Nepal has increased.

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