Production of black pepper in the country is expected to be around 55,000-60,000 tonnes during this harvesting season, according to an office-bearer of pepper growers’ organisation.
Vishwanath KK, Co-ordinator of the Consortium of Pepper Growers’ Organisations, told BusinessLine that though the growers were estimating around 65,000-70,000 tonnes for the current season, they may end up harvesting around 55,000-60,000 tonnes.
On the reasons for this decline, he said pepper-growing regions in the country were hit by drought last year and the impact is being felt now at the time of harvesting.
Basically, growers are cultivating pepper in irrigated areas, and any change in weather condition totally hampers the harvesting situation also, he said.
Pepper is predominately grown in the Western Ghats regions of Karnataka and Kerala . November to March is the harvesting season for pepper in the country. Vishwanath said that the season prolongs up to April in Karnataka.
The available official statistics indicate that the pepper production in the country had reached a maximum of 70,000 tonnes in 2014-15. In a reply to a Lok Sabha member in August 2016, the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry stated that the country produced 48,500 tonnes of the spice in 2015-16. It had estimated country’s provisional production at 55,500 tonnes for 2016-17.
On the fluctuating trends in pepper production, the Ministry had attributed drought and untimely rains in Kerala as reasons for the lesser production of pepper in 2015-16.