Deficient summer rains lift cardamom prices

A delay in the new harvest season by around two months due to inadequate summer rains and the absence of carry-over stocks either with farmers or traders, last year’s production loss due to drought have boosted the prices in the cardamom auction market.

The average price at the auction conducted by in Vandanmedu on Thursday went up to ₹2,725/kg.The shortage of North-East monsoon and deficient summer showers have delayed flowering and fruit settings in most of the plantations. The sector was expecting a fresh harvest in June, but there would be a 60-day delay, which in all probability would be in August only.

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According to market estimates, the crop may fall by 7,000 to 8,000 tonnes in 2019-20 (July-June), the lowest in two decades. Estimates see a total cardamom output at 22,000 tonnes this year against 28,000 tonnes in the previous year. The absence of adequate summer showers in many of the cardamom plantations has affected the crop, leading to a 40 per cent drop in production. Production was around 25,000 tonnes last year.

The rain deficit in the Vandanmedu and Valpara regions has made it difficult to make any predictions on the ensuing crop season in the June-July period. Normally, this area should have received at least two or three good summer showers. But this has not happened, affecting proper irrigation in cardamom plantations. One rain per month is ideal for cardamom plantations.

Gautemala, the world’s largest producer and exporter of cardamom, is reported to have produced 30,000-32,000 tonnes in 2018-19, a lower than in 2017-18.

Concerns over production, unfavourable weather and forecasts of smaller output from Gautemala in the current marketing year of 2018-19 have propelled a rally in cardamom prices.

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