Increased imports have kept black pepper prices stable in the domestic market over the past few days, affecting demand.
The domestic unmarked price is Rs 631 per kg. According to reports, the consumer market in northern India has received imported goods priced at 600-625 rupees at their doorsteps. According to traders, this has significantly reduced the demand for domestically produced pepper in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Kishore Shamji, president of the Indian Pepper and Spices Traders Association (IPSTA), said pepper imports were on the high side, reaching about 3,800 tons in August alone. The agricultural community claims that Vietnamese pepper secretly enters the domestic market at a price of US$3,000-3,500, while Indian pepper costs US$8,025.
Request to increase production
Shamji said domestic demand for pepper is rising as masala manufacturers increase procurement in the run-up to the festive season.
Meanwhile, the Kerala chapter of the Indian Pepper and Spices Traders Growers Union has submitted a memorandum to the visiting Parliamentary Standing Committee seeking measures to increase domestic pepper production. India’s pepper production is 65,000 tons, while consumption is 85,000 tons, resulting in dependence on imports.
The consortium wants the committee to highlight to the Ministry of Agriculture the need to support grassroots chilli cultivation to increase domestic production. Due to insufficient rainfall, pepper production in 2024 may be about 50,000 tons, which is expected to stimulate more imports. A recent period of speculative buying has pushed pepper prices to new highs but has not brought any joy to the farming community amid crop shortages.