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Spices Market currently bearish – What should Traders and Farmers do?

Abhijeet Banerjee
Abhijeet Banerjee
Haldi
Haldi

The trend in spices has been sideways to lower since beginning of this month and the mandi traders are mostly seen negotiating the deals as per the short-term requirements only. Jeera at Unjha and Jodhpur has dropped by Rs.400-500 per quintal over a month’s period. At the same time, Turmeric in Nizamabad mandi is down Rs.300-400 on a quintal. Likewise, coriander in markets of Gondal, Jaipur and Kota remains lower by Rs.100-200 per quintal.  

Overseas buyers of cumin/Jeera are not in hurry as their shipments are mostly planned for far month deliveries. Possession of adequate inventories with the inventories is keeping them hesitant in seeking the Indian product. The export related orders are minimal also due to the restricted movement across different borders. Most mandis were closed during previous month in the state of Gujarat due to lockdown imposition at various cities. As such, the wholesale trade has been affected. But now the mandis are re-opening, therefore we can expect trading activities to improve slowly. Indian sellers are not interested to deal at lower offers in anticipation of getting better prices in near future. Now the traders do not expect much fall in Jeera prices. 

Coriander and turmeric markets were also affected from ongoing lockdown restrictions. Due to limited trading activity and weak demand, buyers preferred trading for covering their short term needs only.  Prices are fairly valued now while broader view remains optimistic from business perspective. Therefore it is quite likely that the tendency to stock the commodities from prevailing offers shall improve gradually.  

Cumin/jeera: 

Trader’s estimates indicate that production of Jeera/Cumin may fall by 10 to 15% compared to last year. Production was around 92 lakh bags (55 kg per bag) in 2019-2020. This season, the output may be between 85 and 90 lakh bags.  As per the government data, the planted area in Gujarat state has dropped to 4.69 lakh hectares from last season’s 4.88 lakh hectares. Production in Turkey was around 15,000 tonne last year, and the country may produce lesser this year as estimated by traders and industry persons. Similar situation is seen in Syria, where production is estimated be lower because of political instability. Turkey and Syria are closest rivals of India in terms of exporting cumin. This implies that India will have the advantage of supplying most of the world’s requirements of cumin this year.   

Turmeric: 

In case of turmeric, domestic consumption has improved significantly after the Covid outbreak, mainly because of the efforts of the Aayush Ministry and increasing awareness of turmeric being a strong immunity builder. On the whole increase in export sales and rise in the domestic use of turmeric as an immunity builder has resulted in smaller carryover stock from last year — along with low crop production because of adverse weather in the producing belts. Heavy rainfall in Maharashtra and Telangana during end of 2020 had adversely affected the optimal development of crop bulbs in final stages. According to data from Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, Telangana and Maharashtra contribute more than 50 per cent of India’s 9 Lakh tonnes of turmeric production. Telangana produces nearly 3 Lakh tonnes of turmeric while Maharashtra produces around 2 Lakh tonnes. Traders expect a 10-15% drop in output in the major producing states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra due to heavy rainfall during the crop development period. The carry-forward inventory for the next season is estimated at 15 lakh bags (1 bag=65 kg), which will be the lowest stock in the last three years.  

Coriander:

There are reports Gujarat’s production estimate falling short of 55-60 lakh bags, pegged earlier. Most traders expect a lower figure now. Market talks indicate that nearly 80 percent of Gujarat arrival will be over in another month’s time. Remaining 20 percent may be in the hands of big farmers and stockists who won’t be in a hurry to sell due to their healthy financial condition. States of Rajasthan and MP have already received 75 percent of the respective production. Inventories are running tight as consumption has been quite healthy  since beginning of this year.   

Either hold or go for fresh purchase: 

For the next few weeks, hand-to-mouth business is expected in jeera, turmeric and coriander. Once the pandemic cases start falling significantly, importers will focus on fresh negotiations for the spices. Lull export business will therefore check the upside moves in the short run. Therefore prices will be moving in a range and with limited upside for next few weeks before the upside trend resumes. Therefore traders and farmers should continue holding and plan to sell their produce after few months. Also, now it is good time to go for fresh purchases/stocking of these three spices, in order to generate decent returns within next few months.  

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