The agriculture market is pinning its hopes on the Kerala Budget to be announced on June 4, 2021 for relief from the impact of COVID-19.
Besides farmers, traders, agro industries, too, have been badly hit by the pandemic. The market is expecting the Budget to include proposals to ease the burden. The continuing lockdown has also become a concern for the markets.
Rubber rides on high hopes
The LDF manifesto has promised to increase the floor price of rubber to Rs 250 a kilogram in a phased manner. The rubber farmers had earlier presented a memorandum to the government, requesting it to hike the price.
The farmers are hoping that the poll promise will reflect in the Budget. Increasing the price to Rs 250 will boost the market, besides bringing back those who have quit tapping.
The rubber price was stagnant the past week. The price of RSS (ribbed smoked sheets) Grade-4 remained at Rs 17,200 in Kochi, while RSS-5 sold for Rs 16,950.
The international market, meanwhile, showed an upward trend in rubber price. RSS-4 increased to Rs 17,301 from Rs 17,167 in Bangkok, while RSS-5 touched Rs 17,196 from Rs 17,062.
Pepper price has been on an upswing, touching Rs 900 a quintal in a week. The price of garbled pepper increased to Rs 41,300 from Rs 40,400, while that of un-garbled touched Rs 39,300 from Rs 38,400.
Though the price of pepper had increased to Rs 41,000 during the third week of April, it could not be sustained. The price has increased by Rs 6,700 over a period of four months, and traders believe that several people have been stocking the spice expecting further price hike.
Slight increase in price of coconut products
The slight increase in the price of coconut oil and copra was confined to the first half of the week. The price of milling-grade coconut oil rose by Rs 400 from Rs 18,200 to remain at Rs 18,400 throughout the week.
The price of coconut oil rose to Rs 17,800 from Rs 17,600, while copra remained stagnant at Rs 12,050, after an increase of Rs 200 from Rs 11,850. The price of palm oil, meanwhile, slid to Rs 13,050 from Rs 13,550.
Meanwhile, The Solvent Extractors Association of India demanded the government to ensure compulsory delivery contracts to stop speculation in trading of vegetable oils on the commodity bourses. The demand was raised to check the uncontrolled hike in the price of vegetable oils.
There are indications that the government may relax the basic duty for importing vegetable oils. It may also force processing units and traders to reveal their oil stock.
Pandemic halts cardamom auction
A fair price could not be fixed for cardamom since the rapid spread of COVID-19 stalled the e-auction at Puttady Spice Park in Idukki and Bodinayakanur in Tamil Nadu.
A majority of farmers are dependent on the auction from getting a fair price for their produce. With COVID-19 hampering the auction, they have been unable to marker their produce.