Gold Silver Reports — With Prices at Rs 1,000 a kg, Illegal Guatemalan Cardamom Sneaks in — With small cardamom prices touching . 1,000 per kg after a gap of nearly a decade follo` wing output slump, traders are complaining of an influx of Guatemalan cardamom illegally into the country to mix with the local variety.
A bumper crop last year has ensured that the daily cardamom auctions in Kerala and Tamil Nadu haven’t stopped despite a drought before monsoon damaging the crop and delaying the harvest season in Kerala.
“The daily arrivals in auctions are 30-40 tonnes even now. There are reports of import of Guatemalan cardamom into the country illegally for mixing with the lower quality domestic cardamom, which fetches ` . 600-650 per kg,“ said TC Mathew, general secretary of Cardamom Gro wers Association. Guatemala is the largest producer of cardamom. India has in place an import duty of 73% plus a minimum import price of `. 500 per kg. But cardamom is said to be coming from Guatemala through illegal route.
“The Guatemalan cardamom coming to Nepal is being smuggled to India in collusion with some big traders to push down the price of the spice here. Otherwise, with production predicted to be one-third of last year’s, the prices should ha . 1,500 per kg,“ said MM Lamve risen to at least ` bodharan, general secretary of Spices Planters Association. The harvest season is expected to start by the end of this month or in early September. Last year’s small cardamom production is calculated to be above 30,000 tonnes. This time, because of the widespread damage caused by drought and strong winds, it is likely to be in the range of 10,000 to 15,000 tonnes, Mathew said. — Neal Bhai Reports