INDIAN cardamom growers in Kerala and Tamil Nadu have floated South India Green Cardamom Company, which will take up direct marketing of the produce both within the country and overseas. Green Cardamom, which is registered under the companies act and promoted by 50 planters, will start its first trial retail marketing in Madurai next month, T. Ashok Kumar, one of the promoters and president of the Kerala Cardamom Growers Union, told India’s Business Line newspaper. The union plans to bring all the 25,000 planters registered with the Spices Board into the public limited company, in which traders would also be given shares, he said.
The company has been floated with an authorised capital of Rs5m ($108,187), and this would be enhanced based on its success, he added. The objective of Green Cardamom is to ensure remunerative prices for India’s cardamom growers, and a research and development unit will also be set up.
The company has already set up a small packaging unit at Cumbum in Tamil Nadu where small pouches are being manufactured. Initially, for trial marketing, pouches with 2g of cardamom priced at Rs2 are being packed. The idea is to sell these to small teashops and through other small retail outlets to cater for those on a low income, for whom cardamom has hitherto been unaffordable. Currently, Indian cardamom is available in 50g and 100g packets and high in price. Mr Kumar explained that 360 kg of cardamom has been acquired for this purpose. Depending upon the success in Madurai, it would be taken to other areas in due course. Currently, most of India’s cardamom is consumed by elite, upper and middle-class families.