Turmeric production for the 2019-20 marketing year is estimated at 532,353 tonnes (for dry crop) as compared to the previous year’s 476,771 tonnes.
Heavy rainfall during the Kharif season damaged the crop and therefore low yield had been expected. Until 16th June, around 21,880 MT was procured by the Indian Government. This is 44% of total production. But prices remain low due to the procurement limit of 40 quintals per farmer, and also because the movement to other states is slow because of the COVID-19 fear. Due to lower prices this year, the Turmeric plantation area may go down in Telangana growing regions. Sowing for the new season has not started yet.
Prices remain low in June compared to the previous marketing season. Erode Turmeric market reopens and buyers reported active in the spot market, however very few farmers bring their produce to the mandi (local wholesale markets), keeping the prices reported steady.
Graph 1. The wholesale price of Turmeric in India (USD per kg)
Graph 2. Spot market price in India (INR per quintal)
The wholesale price of Turmeric in Uttar Pradesh has steadily decreased from April until June, from USD 1.58 per kg to 1.33 per kg. In Tamil Nadu, The price has been quite stagnant moving between USD 0.94 per kg to USD 0.97 per kg. In Bangalore, the local price in June decreased by 23% from the price in July 2019.
The spot market price (Farmer's price) remains in the range between ₹3,500~5,000 per quintal. When the new season began in February, the price in the agriculture market yard was ₹4,400 to ₹5,400 per quintal for finger (fine) variety and ₹4,200 to ₹5,100 for bulb variety. This is ₹500 to ₹600 below the price that both varieties fetched last season in 2019.
Turmeric sales to Europe and West Asia have shot up because its medicinal properties are getting renewed attention at the time when the coronavirus is spreading rapidly. Over 59,000 tonnes of turmeric has been exported in the past 5 months from the Telangana region, which is a record in the last 7 years. Since 2019, North America has emerged as the largest market.
Graph 3. The wholesale price of Cardamom in India
Graph 4. The auction price of Chotadana cardamom in India
Source: Spices Board India
Graph 5. The auction price of Badadana cardamom in India
Source: Spices Board India
With bigger crops of cardamom from the recent crop season, current cardamom prices have lowered, but consistent demand from West Asian countries have offset significant downward pressure on prices from these large volumes. Cardamom on the MCX (Multi Commodity Exchange of India) has closed with 1336 Rs per kg on June 30th, 2020. This is a stark difference from the same period in 2019, which has reached as high as 3,200 Rs per kg due to shortages.
The production volume for the 2019/2020 marketing year is expected to be approximately 18K MT to 19K MT due to unfavorable weather conditions in 2019 such as unseasonal rainstorms and floods, combined with strong heat waves during the summer. In addition, travel restrictions from the pandemic have also left production sites to be neglected for the past couple of months. The inability of farmers to travel from Tamil Nadu to Kerala, for example, has resulted in a lack of adequate irrigation, putting a strain on the fields.
Plunging prices from the nationwide lockdown have led to panic selling in the market. Although exports to Saudi Arabia and been reinstated in May, demand has been minimal at the end of Ramadan. The recovery of exports is expected to be largely dependent on demand from the Middle East. There have also been logistical issues that have constrained exports, including delays in shipments.
The cardamom harvesting season in Guatemala begins in October. Many suppliers are currently out of stock but believe that given the descent in consumption due to COVID-19, their buyers will be able to hold until the new crop is available.
Cardamom prices are at a current high trend in an unstable market. Cardamom prices are usually quite unstable, because of unpredictable demand trends and weather conditions. This season, prices have been unusually volatile and have increased by around 20% in the past three months. At the beginning of March this year, the export prices started slightly under decreasing pressure.
Especially with these high prices, it is not recommended at all for anyone to purchase less than 10MT, as freight costs, for less than that, combined with high prices for the product would make this commercially non-viable.