India has slipped to the fifth position in the global pepper exports market, behind Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil and Malaysia, according to the International Pepper Community’s (IPC) estimates for this year. Last year, India was fourth on the list, according to IPC data.
For this year, estimated exports from India, the top exporter in the world two decades earlier, are only 17,500 tonnes, against 1,08,000 tonnes from Vietnam, 53,000 tonnes from Indonesia, 27,500 tonnes from Brazil and 20,000 tonnes from Malaysia. Three years earlier, pepper exports from Indonesia and Brazil lagged India’s.
In the last two-three years, prices in India were often $1000/tonne higher than in other producing countries. Also, the quality of products from nations such as Sri Lanka is better than Indian pepper. Vietnam offers the ASTA grade pepper, comparable to India's Malabar Garbled grade, at low prices. Therefore, India fell behind in the traditional markets of the European Union and the US.
India's pepper exports in the January-October period were just 16 per cent of the exports from Vietnam, the world's largest producer and exporter. Vietnam exported 1,02,759 tonnes of pepper, while India's exports stood at only 16,000 tonnes. In the year-ago period, exports from India stood at 20,000 tonnes.
Exports from Vietnam include 88,435 tonnes of black pepper and 14,324 tonnes of white pepper. Though the exports were 7.4 per cent lower than in the year-ago period, their value rose 9.5 per cent to $697 million. Of this, black pepper accounted for $564.4 million, while white pepper's share was $132.2 million.
The average export price of black pepper during the January-October period was $6,382 a tonne. For white pepper, it stood at $9,229 a tonne. Compared to the year-ago period, the price of black pepper was higher by $1,016 a tonne, while the price of white pepper was higher by $1,427 a tonne.
For Vietnam, the US was the largest import market (14,226 tonnes, 13.8 per cent). The Gulf Cooperation Council, Germany, Holland, Singapore, India and Egypt also imported major quantities of pepper from Vietnam. For white pepper, Germany was the biggest importer (3,371 tonnes), followed by Holland (2,040 tonnes) and the US (1,517 tonnes).
Next season, global production of black pepper is likely to stand at 3,16,832 tonnes according to IPC estimates. This is slightly below last year's production of 3,27,090 tonnes. Exporters feel in the next season, production would stand at 3,59,832 tonnes.
According to IPC estimates, global exports of the commodity would stand at 2,14,541 tonnes next year. Vietnam is slated to top the table, with 85,000 tonnes of black pepper and 10,000 tonnes of the white variety. India is likely to export 25,000 tonnes. Of this, 23,200 tonnes would be black pepper. IPC says overall global exports, including 16,200 tonnes from the five non-IPC countries of China, Thailand, Madagascar, Cambodia and Ecuador, would stand at 2,30,741 tonnes.