Higher export demand spices up jeera counter

Better quality, attractive price drawing buyers from all over the world
Higher export demand spices up jeera counter

The Indian spices export basket is growing. Exp*orts grew 28 per cent in volume terms and 46 per cent in value terms in last eight months. Spices exports will likely rise to somewhere between Rs 12,000 crore and Rs 15,000 crore this year from Rs 11,171 crore last year.

Shipments of jeera, a high-valued item among all Indian spices, have grown close to 90 per cent in both volume and value terms. According to Spices Board of India statistics, India exported 67,500 tonnes of cumin seeds or jeera during April-September 2013, up from 35,018 tonnes in the prior-year period.

And that’s not without a reason.

India, world’s top jeera-producing country, has emerged as the predominant supplier in the global market following political uncertainties in Syria — the second biggest producer — and a poor harvest in Turkey — third biggest — and China. Analysts project jeera exports from India to cross 100,000 tonnes by March end on a sharp fall in supplies from other key producing countries.

Demand for Indian jeera is soaring also because of its quality and attractive price. Angel Commodities says neighbours Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are finding Indian jeera very attractive at its current price.

Even buyers from European Union countries and the US are increasingly getting attracted to Indian jeera.

While higher overseas and domestic demand has supported jeera futures, increased crop acreage and prospects of higher output have capped gains. Farmers in the key producing states raised the area under cultivation due to a favourable weather and ample monsoon rains, creating prospects for higher output this season. Spice Board data shows India produced 394,328 tonnes of jeera last year.

Jeera is a winter crop sown in October. Indian farmers mainly depend on rains to moisten the land for sowing. Supplies from the new season crop are expected to hit the market from mid-February.

Motilal Oswal Commodity Broker says the area under jeera cultivation is up nearly 30 per cent in Gujarat. There was good sowing in Rajasthan too and there is no report of any crop damage so far.

Religare Retail Research says while adequate rains led to better sowing, low temperature in the growing states would help crop growth and better output. This will put further pressure on market sentiment.

“Jeera prices have slumped on better crop prospects. Spot market has remained firm due to export demands. Weather conditions remain a critical determinant of short-term trend. Prices will likely find strong support at low levels with demand picking up slowly. Any rain in the jeera-growing states may perk up prices,” Religare said in a report.

Traders and exporters hope export demand from the Gulf countries will soon shift to India as supply shortages from other key jeera-producing countries continue.

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