Cardamom prices remain robust due to high demand

Kochi: Though rising arrivals trigger a slump in the small cardamom price, it remains at a high level compared with last year because of a robust upcountry demand.

Cardamom prices have plunged 35 per cent in one month as harvest of new crop begins. The prices hover around Rs 3,000 per kg at the daily auctions in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The current prices are almost double that in the same period last year.

The prices of premium variety reached a new high of Rs 7,000 per kg last month while the average prices hovered around Rs 4,700 per kg. “At present, the arrivals are around 50 to 60 tonnes per day which is less than half the quantity last year. The production is less this year,’’ said KS Mathew, a major grower.

The festival demand from North India has helped keep the prices at Rs 3,000 per kg. The growers feel the prices will not decline much in the coming months if the arrivals go up.

Last year too, the output had been lower after the floods that hit Kerala. This time, the extended drought had affected the output. The rains were also insufficient during June and July. As a result, the harvest season got extended by a month. Instead of in July, the harvest began towards the end of August.

“But the extended late showers may result in multiple harvests. The plants are in good condition now and we may see another harvest by January next year. The present arrivals may last till December,’’ said PC Mathew, general secretary of Cardamom Growers Association.

“But the quality is inferior as the growers are plucking cardamom before maturity because of high price,’’ said exporter Nityanandan. The exports have been at standstill since Ramadan with prices going through the roof. The shipments stopped when prices went beyond $ 25 per kg.