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Tuesday, Sep 19, 2006

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Output shortfall, rising prices may hit chilli exports

Vishwanath Kulkarni

Shipments may decline by 10-12 per cent this fiscal

Crop prospects
Andhra accounts for 50 pc of country's chilli output of around 13 lakh tonnes.
Recent floods in Karnataka, Maharashtra worsens situation.

Coonoor , Sept. 18

Chilli exports are likely to be hit this financial year due to production shortfalls in output and rising domestic prices, a senior Spices Board official said.

Mr S. Kannan, Director, Marketing, Spices Board, estimates that there could be a 10-12 per cent drop in exports this year.


Speaking to Business Line at the 113th annual conference of the United Planters Association of Southern India (UPASI) in Coonoor recently, Mr Kannan said chilli exports would be around 1 lakh tonnes this year as compared to 1.132 lakh tonnes last year.

Chilli accounted for around 35 per cent of the total volumes of the country's spices exports last year.

Erratic rains and windy conditions of late, especially in Andhra Pradesh might impact the chilli output this year, Mr Kannan said. "We expect a 20 per cent shortfall in Andhra's chilli crop this year," he said.

Andhra output

Andhra accounts for 50 per cent of the country's chilli output of around 13 lakh tonnes. A 20 per cent drop in AP chilli output would mean that the crop size would shrink to around five lakh tonnes in the State.

Prices trend

Chilli prices have seen an upward trend in the past few months, especially after the crop prospects turned bleak following recent floods in States such as Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Chilli prices, which were ruling between Rs 4,900-5,000 per quintal at the beginning of August in Guntur, were now being traded at over Rs 6,200 levels.

In fact, the prices hit an eight-year high of Rs 6,300 a quintal at auctions in Guntur recently.

The December futures on NCDEX were quoted higher at Rs 6,500 levels.

Further, Mr Kannan said the compulsory certification initiative for detecting aflatoxin's such as Sudan dye in export consignments has yielded good results.

"We are seeing a shift in European market towards Indian chillies," he said.

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