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Illegal imports snatches away the benefit of Indian pepper growers

The spot price for pepper which was around ₹500 a kg in the corresponding period last year have dropped to ₹325 a kg currently in major markets in Kerala even though expected production is low owing to climate is the major concerns of pepper growers in Kerala and Karnataka.

‘Cheaper pepper from Vietnam continues to flood the market through Sri Lanka, and, aided by a low-duty structure under the ASEAN (Association of South-East Nations) trade agreement, SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Area) and ISFTA (Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement) it was the major reason for the declining price of the produce,” said pepper dealer in Wayanad.

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Kishore Shamji, coordinator, Cochin chapter of the Indian Pepper and Spice Traders, Farmers, Producers and Planters Consortium (IPSTPC) told to Hindu sources that ‘Though the Commerce Ministry had imposed a minimum import price (MIP) of ₹500 per kg on pepper last year to protect domestic pepper farmers, it is yet to make any positive impact’.

According the sources around 20,000 tons of smuggled pepper reached the country from January 2018 to October 2018 through the Kolkata sea port via Nepal and Bhutan borders.Vietnam pepper which is first imported to srilanka and then routed to India thorugh Nepal and Bhutan illegally.
India’s production is likely to drop below 50,000 tonnes against a consumption of 65,000 tonnes.

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“This mismatch has been taken advantage of by Sri Lankan exporters by importing Vietnam pepper with certificate of origin from Sri Lanka, thus snatching away the benefit of Indian pepper farmers,” Mr. Shamji said.

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