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Cardamom costly as buyers struggle between crops

GUATEMALAN cardamom prices have firmed recently with stocks from last year’s short crop becoming ever tighter.

The price of Guatemalan cardamom (mixed yellow quality) was quoted at $2,000 a tonne, compared with $1,900 a tonne in the previous week. Some reports said that the last cardamom crop in Guatemala was down by 20% to 30% from the previous year, and with the new season still some months away, prices may increase further.

One UK trader said: “We’re between crops so there seems to be abit of a shortage although I spoke to a supplier in Guatemala who said there are stocks there. Stocks are fairly tight, but I think there will be enough to meet demand.” A Dutch trader said that low stocks in Europe and high demand from the Middle East was pushing up the price.

“Supplies have started to come in recently, but with production in Guatemala down from last year, the market continues to be firm and will remain so – and could rise further – until the new crop comes in, ” he said.

With reference to the new season, he said: “It’s too early to say how big the new crop will be but for the past few years production has been decreasing with farmers losing interest in growing cardamom and switching to other crops such as coffee and cotton.” While Guatemala dominates the export market in cardamom, India is also a large producer, mainly for domestic consumption but also for exports, with the Middle East taking large quantities. With output from Guatemala’s last crop lower, India expects to increase its exports.

Last year, India exported 875 tonnes of cardamom out of total production of 13,000 tonnes. This is down from five years ago, when it exported more than 1,000 tonnes.

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