e-auction sees fall in prices

Experts say slump is no indicator to any trend, as demand for cardamom is still strong

The reopening of e-auction after a gap of 68 days at the Spices Park in Puttady on Friday saw prices of cardamom falling.

At the auction held by the Kerala Cardamom Processing and Marketing Co. Ltd, the maximum price quoted per kilogram was ₹2,410 while the average price was ₹1,769. Of the total quantity of 16,219 kg that came for auction, 16,104 kg was sold.

As many as 32 auctioneers participated in the auction on Friday. In the wake of COVID-19, only a single auction has been arranged per day, where as two auctions were held per day in the pre-COVID days.

The difference between the current prices, both for maximum and average, from the last auction held on March 19 was high. The maximum price quoted then was ₹3,1198 and the average price ₹2,359.

An official at an agency conducting the auction says the current fall in prices is not an indicator of the trend, as the auction was still in the initial stage. The price was decided by demand-and-supply factor. There is no slowdown in demand and prices might pick up in the coming days.

The auction was held to give priority to the produce of the farmers, a Spices Board of India official says. Though there was no auction, the hill produce merchants were procuring cardamom from the farmers at very low prices. Hence, there was demand from the farmers to open the auction to get a competitive price.

The fall in prices, according to marketing sources, is largely due to the long shutdown that left stock unsold. Farmers had also withheld the earlier produce hoping to get higher price later.

The slump now could also be because of the hope of getting fresh produce with crop being readied for harvest in July/August when the season begins.

There were also predictions that the coming harvesting season is favourable in terms of production. But with the economy slowing down, a higher production may have a negative impact on the prices, according to market sources.

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