Coffee growing has become increasingly unprofitable in recent times due to its poor prices,but pepper crop has mostly helped growers in this critical situation to deal with this poor prices, shortage and high cost of labour.
Black pepper prices in Karnataka this year has come down to all-time low of recent years to fall below Rs 300 mark.
Karnataka is the largest producer of black pepper in the India,which is grown as an intercrop by coffee growers of Kodagu, Chikkamagalur and Hassan.
According to various sources,reason attributed to this down trend in prices is due to import of cheap pepper from SAARC countries.
“Pepper price has been on a downtrend since this March, largely on reduced supplies and drop in demand in the world market” said a senior official of the Karnataka State Spices Development Board.
Quality of Indian pepper grown in Karnataka,Kerala and Tamilnadu is high due to its grown under coffee shade. High quality pepper from India is most sought after in the world market. But this year, The Indian markets are flooded with imported pepper and there’s no demand for good quality pepper grown in Karnataka.
Many planters’ associations in Kodagu and Chikkamagaluru have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu seeking relief to beleaguered coffee growers by placing restrictions on the import of cheap variety of pepper from Saarc countries.