Supply crunch, rising prices make Indian black pepper uncompetitive

 ipc  26/08/2015  1292
KOCHI: Supply crunch and the subsequent increase in prices have made the Indian black pepper uncompetitive in global markets, robbing exporters the opportunity to take advantage of a decline in rupee rates against the US dollar. Local prices are currently hovering in the range of Rs 625 to Rs 645 a kg, and they are likely to rise further in the next few weeks, making it difficult for exporters. In 2014-15, Indian black pepper exports stood at 21,450 tonnes, valued at Rs 1,208 crore, showing a marginal rise in quantity and 29% in value. "At present, rates of Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Brazil are lower than India. While the three countries are selling in the range of $9,300 to $9,900 a tonne, the rate here is $10,300 a tonne," said leading exporter Kishor Shamji. Vietnam, the largest producer and exporter of pepper, is on a par with India as it has sold most of its stock. Pepper production has been below expectation, leading to the firming up of prices in the domestic market.