Red chilli export slackens as prices rise

Red chilli export slackens as prices rise

Shipments of red chilli, the largest exported spice from India, have slackened as a shortfall in crop has led to an increase in prices. 

The crop will be an estimated 20% lower this year, said AP Murugan, director of exporting firm Paprika Oleos (India) Ltd. 

Last year, a record production had led to prices crashing as much as 50% compared to that a year ago. 

The current price range of Rs 70-110 per kg is almost double that a year ago. As a result, exporters said, China  has not bought as much chilli from India as it did last year. 

“Chinese chilli crop has been large. Hence China’s purchases from India will be limited to high-heat variety, unlike last year when they also bought medium-heat chillies from India because of low prices,’’ Murugan said. 

With China buying Indian chilli in large quantities in recent years, annual exports from India exceeded 4 lakh tonnes and earnings topped Rs 5,000 crore. In 2017-18, export volumes are expected to cross 5 lakh tonnes. However, the value may not show an increase since prices have plunged. Another reason for sluggish exports is that good quality chillies, which arrived during the early part of harvest, have gone to cold storages. The current flow is mostly low quality chillies which are consumed locally. Since the Andhra Pradesh market will be closed for a month from May due to peak summer season, exporters expect shipments to increase later. 

“We expect that good quality chillies will be released from the cold storages after the market reopens. This could bring in more in more export demand,’’ said Ashish Maheswari, export manager of Sidhhartha Corporation Pvt. Ltd. 

Poor crop from Madhya Pradesh, which came by last November, has forced local buyers to depend more on the output from the eastern states. 

As the harvest in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the top producers of chilli, is coming to a close, the growers are still not fully certain about the extent of the fall. “We feel a correct picture will emerge only by the end of the month,’’ said Ravipati Peraiah, managing director, Vijayakrishna Spice Farms. 

By BOA Bureau