Indian traders praise benefits of e-auction for cardamom

THE introduction of an e-auction for cardamom by the Spices Board of India, at Vandanmedu, and Bodinayakkanur in Tamil Nadu, has ensured accountability and transparency in trading, according to market sources.

The e-auction was started at Bodinayakkanur with 30 computers in August before it was launched at Vandanmedu in December with 60 computers.

Sources in the auction centres told The Hindu that the e-auction was beneficial to both cardamom growers and traders by ensuring healthy competition among bidders. Unlike in open trading, the chances of manipulation and traders forming a cartel to keep the prices low was basically nil, they said. Trading was electronically monitored and the maximum price was fixed as quoted by the highest bidder.

The licensed seven auctioneers collected cardamom directly from the growers and a sample of 100g was shown to the bidders before the auction. At the e-auction, each bidder got eight seconds to quote the price with the bidding rate ranges between paise50 and Rs9 (22¢).

A spokesman of an auction centre said: “Since each bidder is unaware of the price quoted by the rival bidder, the maximum price is ensured to the produce and a healthy competition prevails.” Each licensed bidder is given separate days for holding auctions.

In addition to these auctioneers, the Spices Board also holds auction in Wayanad and Kozhikode on Fridays.

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