Thiruvananthapuram: The projected fall in cardamom production in Guatemala and subsequent price rise is expected to help India regain much of its lost export market for the spice this year.
According to trade circles in Kerala, which accounts for nearly 90% of cardamom production in the country, India is certain to benefit from the trend by grabbing the international demand, especially in West Asia, Japan and Australia.
International commodity journals reported that Guatemala’s cardamom crop in 2006-07 was likely to fall by about 16%. The decline in output had reflected in prices with the medium-sized whole green cardamom commanding $9.1 per kg (Rs400), which was higher by $2 (Rs88) than its price two months ago.
Compared with this, the average price of Indian cardamom , which includes all the different grades, now stood around Rs375.
“Considering this development, India can reasonably hope to enhance its export, which had been showing a downtrend in the last few years,” C.P. Ramachandran, managing director, Idukki District Spices Marketing and Processing Society, told PTI.
According to the state economic review, Indian export of cardamom declined by 50% in 2004-05 after touching a peak level of 1,545 tonnes in 2000-01.
Traders had attributed this trend mainly to the influence of low priced Guatemalan cardamom, which has been dominating the export market for the last few years, especially in countries such as Saudi Arabia, which was one of the biggest consumers of the spice.
Facing stiff competition from Guatemala, Ramachandran said, Indian cardamom, despite its widely acknowledged aromatic quality, had been relying heavily on the domestic market.
According to Ramachandran, the Indian cardamom production too is likely to experience a shortfall this year due to the summer-like condition prevailing in the high ranges of Kerala, which accounts for bulk of the production.