Black pepper price increased due to better availability, weakened demand.

Increased availability and muted demand in the consumer market weighed on black pepper prices, which fell by ₹ 30/kg in the last two weeks. Pepper availability from both Iduk and southern regions increased as Vietnamese imports were at ₹500/kg, traders said.

As the Sabarimala pilgrimage season ends, the demand for pepper in Iduk, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam has reduced, increasing its availability in the Kochi end market. This also contributed to lower prices. Paprika prices in Kochi are at ₹ 557 and 26.5 tonnes were offered at the auction site.

President of the Indian Association of Pepper and Spice Traders Kishore Shamji said that the consumer market in northern India was flooded with pepper imported from Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Madagascar, which affected domestic prices of the goods. Paprika consumption in the domestic market increased as more masala production units were opened due to the increase in food prices. Falling prices, however, forced sellers to hold back production, forcing buyers to pay at higher levels. Demand for pickled green and dried green pepper has been limited this year due to higher prices in the domestic market. Many processors prefer to import this commodity in cold containers.

The drop in prices forced the captive growers in coffee plantations to hold on to their crops, especially in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka due to higher coffee prices. Also, the pepper harvest season is about to start in Wayanad, Tamil Nadu and Coorg and this would have a further impact on prices. In relation to import prices, Brazilian pepper was below 4,000 USD, while Madagascar was 3,300 USD in limited quantities. The Vietnamese market is said to be closed for the Chinese “Tet” New Year, which this year is longer than usual and lasts more than 7-8 days.

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