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Slew of factors buoy cardamom sentiment; prices set to soar

At Bodi auctions, rates go up to ₹2,525/kg

The absence of carry-over stocks, last year’s production loss and anticipation of a delayed production this year have boosted the sentiment in the cardamom auction market.

The average price at the auction conducted by CPMC Ltd at Spice Park in Bodinayakkanur in Theni district in Tamil Nadu on Friday went up to ₹2,525/kg on a total arrival of 24,197 kg. The price trend is positive as there is not much quantity of cardamom coming to auctions, PC Punnoose, CEO, Kerala Cardamom Processing and Marketing Company, (CPMC) told BusinessLine. Prices, which are going up in the last one week, are expected to continue as there is no carry-over stock either with farmers or traders.

The shortage of North-East monsoon and deficient summer showers have delayed flowering and fruit settings in most of the plantations. The sector was expecting a fresh harvest in June, but there would be a 60-day delay, which in all probability would be in August only. The intensity of drought this year has also affected fruit settings, he said.

Considering all these factors, he said, the production this year would not surpass the last year’s figure of 20,000 tonnes or it would be on par or even less than in last year. Attributing the reasons for lower production to natural vagaries, Punnoose said there was a 20-25 per cent drop in the total plantation area of 75,000 hectares. Small and marginal farmers are the worst hit due to drought and floods and they have to replant the area, which can lead to a lower production.

According to market estimates, the crop may fall by 7,000 to 8,000 tonnes in 2019-20 (July-June), the lowest in two decades. Anu V Pai, Research Analyst, Geojit Financial Services Ltd, said that the farm ministry’s second advance estimates see a total cardamom output at 22,000 tonnes this year against 28,000 tonnes in the previous year. Gautemala, the world’s largest producer and exporter of cardamom, is reported to have produced 30,000-32,000 tonnes in 2018-19, a tad lower than in 2017-18.

Concerns over production, unfavourable weather and forecasts of smaller output from Gautemala in the current marketing year of 2018-19 have propelled a rally in cardamom prices. The adverse weather in the major growing regions is turning out to be a weighty factor influencing the price. Generally, it is said that output expectations for the next harvest season depend upon the summer rains which are necessary for good yields as growth of new offshoots, flowering and seed formations happen that time, Pai said.

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