Indian cardamom exporters eye higher output

Indian cardamom exporters are expecting a good forthcoming crop and ongoing increases in output over the coming years.

Processor and exporter Emperor Akbar Green Cardamoms noted in a recent report that over the last two years the Indian crop has been very good both in terms of quantity and quality.

“This is expected to only grow stronger in the coming years. The production has now crossed 23,000 tonnes and expected to go higher due to the increased area under plantations of cardamom, good rains and sprinkler irrigation systems, and favourable climatic conditions,” the company noted.

The local consumption has also increased to 17,000 tonnes in recent years. Emperor Akbar explained that Indian cardamom exports in the April-September period of 2014 were 1,250 tonnes compared with 1,442 tonnes in the same period in 2013.

Overseas sales have picked up more pace since last September and the total exports this year (April 2014 to March 2015) might be similar to the 4,200 tonnes shipped in 2014/15.

In response to the changing production scenario, the Indian Spices Board has revamped the auctioneer licenses. Since January 15 2015, three new auctions have started bringing the total auctions to 12 in a week. In addition, auctions are also held at the major consumption centres where planters offer their goods directly. “This has opened up the marketing channels for the increased supply,” Emperor Akbar observed.

Arrivals so far have been about 12,000 tonnes and still about 11,000-12,000 tonnes is expected to arrive in the coming months.

“Almost every planter is also holding stocks substantially higher than their average holdings,” the report explained.

The consuming centres in India, particularly in the northern part of the country, are also holding stocks higher than their normal off-take. Moreover, it is reported that about 2,000 tonnes has been imported into India already.

Emperor Akbar said Guatemalan cardamom production is also reported to be good this year and that it had seen estimates in the range of 34,000 tonnes or higher.

This view is in stark contrast to earlier and recent assessments from European traders, who have acknowledged that the overall crop size can be regarded as favourable, but indicated that this is within a possible range of 27,000-30,000 tonnes against 36,000 tonnes in 2013/14.

Around the months of August and September after the Ramadan demand, the major international consuming centres were holding a large inventory of stocks, Emperor Akbar said.

However, the prices have increased by USD3.00 per kilo in the domestic and international markets. “This has reduced the demand overall and we believe that the prices are due for a downward correction any time,” the report concluded.

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