There was a strong heat wave in the cardamom growing areas that alarmed planters and traders of cardamoms about the health of the plants. We surveyed many plantations and noted the effect of the heat wave in some of areas. However, due to timely rains and the weather cooling down just in time, most plants have survived this traumatic period.
The heat wave and lack of rainfall in this period did impact the health of the plants by delaying the new crop harvests. Most plants we saw seemed to have missed their flower cycles and only now the flowers were beginning to set. They would start yielding capsules only by Middle August.
It is still too early to predict the quantity of the new crop in the coming season. We could reasonably expect that after the bumper production in the year 2015-16, the plants will pause for a breath. The year 2015-16 saw a production of nearly 26500 tons which is a record for Indian Cardamoms. Traders’ forecast of the shortage ranged from 10% to 25% over 2015-16 crop year. Widely traders agreed on a shortfall of about 15% in the coming season which should still yield about 22000 – 23000 tons. Most traders and planters agreed with our views. This is roughly equal to the production size of the season 2014-15.
The export for the year 2015-2016 is expected to have been about 5000-5200 tons while the domestic demand is expected to have been 16000 – 17000 tons. The excess production was a deterrent for speculators and stockists to influence the prices for long periods. This delay in the new crop has come as a blessing in disguise as the carry forward stocks with planters and stockists will get consumed during the upcoming Ramadhan festival demand.
We can see that the price range between the smaller and the bolder grades has become very high. It is nearly $6. This indicates that there is buying pressure in the market for bold grades while good quality stocks are still being held back.
Therefore, we advise buyers to cover only for immediate requirements and await the reports on the new crop estimates.