The 35th conference of the International Pepper Community (IPC), an inter-governmental organization of pepper-producing countries, scheduled from 29 October to 2 November in Kuala Lumpur, will focus on quality-related issues and maximum residue level (MRL) for pesticides.
The meet will also look at various screening methods and monitor progress on the implementation of the IPC inter-laboratory proficiency check programme, which includes 16 laboratories from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
Dede Kusuma Edi, executive director of the Jakarta-based IPC, says the conference will also review training on quality improvement for member country personnel and consider adopting IPC good agriculture practices (GAP) drawn up by a group of experts from member countries—Brazil, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and China—countries that will be participating in the conference for the first time as full members. It was only during the last conference in Sri Lanka that Vietnam, the largest producer and exporter of pepper, became a member.
Anandan Abdullah, former executive director of IPC, heads the panel on GAP and Y.R. Sarma, former director of the Indian Institute of Spice Research in Kozhikode, heads the panel on integrated pest management (IPM).
The conference and associated sessions will be hosted by the Malaysian government and is jointly being organized by the Malaysian ministry of plantation industries and commodities, the Malaysian Pepper Board and IPC.
The conference would be attended by officials and trade representatives from member countries and China’s department of agriculture.
Delegates and trade representatives from importing countries are also invited to the conference.
The important session with exporters will discuss the pepper economy, current production, domestic consumption, exports, imports, prices, prospects, problem areas and other matters related to pepper trade. Each member country will make a presentation on its pepper, which would include details about production, domestic consumption, imports, exports and carry-over stock.
Based on statistics from these presentations, IPC will come out with the actual production figures for 2006, estimates for 2007 and projection for 2008.
With India, Vietnam, Brazil and Indonesia already reporting lower production this year—estimated to be lower at 211,000 tonnes, compared with 266,000 tonnes in 2006, and with a good part of the carry-over stock getting depleted, the projections for the coming year will have greater significance in anticipating market conditions.
It was suggested at an earlier IPC meeting that a certain portion—around 20%, of each member country’s production be domestically consumed. This would contribute to taking away a good part of surplus stock. However, with Vietnam joining the IPC community only during the last session, India, which had mooted the proposal, may try to press the member countries to implement the plan of action.
IPC’s permanent panel on techno-economic studies will focus on sustainable production technology during the peppertech session. Besides, at this year’s conference, Reinhold Urlaub, an arm of of Germany-based AB Enzymes GmbH, will present a paper on processing white pepper.
The conference will hold a pepperexim meeting involving exporters and importers, in addition to hosting discussions on the supply-demand equation. The meet would encourage better information exchange among pepper-producing countries.