Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Mar 20, 2004
Agri-Biz & Commodities
Spices & Condiments
IPC move to rope in Vietnam
Kochi , March 19
THE International Pepper Community (IPC) Chairman, Mr C.J. Jose, will lead a high level delegation to Vietnam and Cambodia soon to hold minister-level talks as part of its efforts to bring these pepper producing countries in to the community.
Mr C.J. Josetold Business Line that Vietnam, which had, of late, emerged as the largest producer of pepper in the world, besides achieving the distinction of being the highest exporter of the commodity, had agreed to join the IPC earlier. Cambodia had also expressed its interest. IPC, therefore, had decided to take a high level delegation to pursue their entry into the community, he said.
The new producers were thinking of "what kind of benefits may accrue by joining the IPC." He said the growth rate in production was more than that of the export leading to a decline in the prices. The way to resolve this problem was to increase consumption.
To achieve this objective all the producers should join together and see that the domestic consumption in producing countries was raised besides promoting it in other markets.
It was decided in the earlier IPC meetings that the producing countries should increase their domestic consumption to 20 per cent of their production. "Nothing much has happened in these countries so far."
This issue should be taken up again and pursued, he said.
He said IPC was giving thrust to value-added pepper and organic pepper. Besides, to increase the global consumption, the IPC was focussing on CIS countries, which used to be a big market before the bifurcation of the erstwhile USSR. "Some demand could be stimulated from these countries," he said.
During 2000-02, Vietnam exported a total of 0.171 million tonnes of pepper. The export earnings received by Vietnam during these three years were about $395 million less than what it would have received had the 1999 prices held.
In fact, because of the over supply and continuous decline in prices, the Vietnamese Government is discouraging new pepper plantations. Notwithstanding, the people are bringing more and more areas under the crop.
The Vietnamese Government in 2000 had told its farmers to keep the maximum pepper cultivation within 45,000 hectares through 2010. But, they had crossed this ceiling during the past three years itself, he said. For the farmers there, even the current price turned out to be more remunerative than that from other agricultural produce.
The delegation would discuss all these matters at the higher level in Vietnam and Cambodia as part of its efforts to regulate the production, he added.
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