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With no transportation, cardamom sale stalls in Kerala

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Kerala cardamom sector finds it difficult to transport the produces to desired locations. Even though the prices and demand are skyrocketing there is no way for the sellers to find a market. The north Indian buyers are also in the same dilemma and the same is the case in with buyers in Tamilnadu.

Earlier from the month of April after the lock-down period, many merchants had stepped into the online form of sales by setting up e-commerce websites. The main reason for such a change was due to the stoppage on auctions in auction centers.

Even though the auction has started again in May-June months now in July again the pandemic is keeping the sales down. There may be more websites emerging for cardamom sales than ever before but still, transportation means are the biggest hurdle to face.

It is unpredictable to say that when will be the sales come into normal as the pandemic is spreading at a faster pace all over the country. Moreover, a complete lock-down is likely to be there in Kerala later this month. This may lead to great loss in revenue from the spices especially cardamom and it was a good time to reap maximum from the crop.

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Cardamom Auction

Green Cardamom or Cardamom Small are sold via auctions. Unlike other spices, it does not possess a fixed market price due to the nature of its trade pattern. Traders and farmers are depending on Auction centers operated by the Spices Board of India. The main reason for this kind of trade is unknown, but it is assumed that the reason might be the way green cardamom grade is calculated.

Small Cardamom Market

The quality of green cardamom is determined by several factors that make local trades difficult when it comes to pricing. Apart from quantity, gradation, and pricing, it was illegal to carry the yields to wishful markets. Now that is an old story. The central government has removed the obstacles so that each farmer can sell his agricultural produces anywhere in India by any means as he wishes. Farmer or farmer’s organizations are free to do any interstate or intrastate trading in agricultural produce in spite of any other law prohibiting such free business. So spices trade can be done by physical or online. No license is needed for selling or purchasing agricultural products. One may need only to have a PAN to do the business.

Green Cardamom Pricing

The pricing of green cardamom is still based on the cardamom auction dealt by the Spices Board of India. Since 2007 it is an e-auction or electronic auction unlike the traditional open-outcry auction (English auction).

The main two auction centers by Spices board are Cardamom e-auction center in Bodinaykanur, Theni district, Tamilnadu, and e-auction center in Vandanmedu, Idukki district, Kerala. Both have the capacity to deal with simultaneous bidders with forty terminals and sixty terminals respectively.

cardamom auction center
Address of e-auction centers

Common e-Auction Centre, Spices Board of India
Vandanmettu, Idukki district – 685551

Common e-Auction Centre, Spices Board of India
Cardamom Planter’s Association (CPA),
Bodinayikanur, Theni district – 625513

Here you can find the official website of Spices Board and cardamom auction.

Anyone can contact the Spices Board for applying to be an auctioneer, bidder or seller. It is an example of a modern marketplace for spices.

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Green Cardamom Small

high quality green cardamom

About Cardamom Small

Cardamom or ‘Elettaria cardamomum’ is often called as Cardamom Small in international markets. It is also known as Green Cardamom in some export markets. Cardamom is a dried form of ripe fruit of the cardamom plants.

Because of the pleasant smell and unique taste, it is often referred to as Queen Of Spices. This herbaceous, perennial plant in the ginger family, native to southern India is also known as True Cardamom.

Cardamom plants grow up to a size of 2 to 3 meters. It has leaves of pubescent type on the dorsal side and the fruits appear to be a globular bunch.

Origin of True Cardamom

The evergreen forests in the tropical region are the place where you can find most cardamom cultivation. The Western Ghats in South India is especially Idukki in Kerala is the finest producer of high-quality green cardamom. The world-famous Alleppey Green Cardamom variants are produced in Kerala. The optimum altitude range for growing cardamom is 600 to 1500 meters above sea level. So the Idukki district in Kerala is the right place for cardamom plantations. So the superb quality too.

Uses of Green Cardamom

Cardamom is mainly used to flavor foods such as meat, sweets, confectioneries, baked food items, and ice creams, etc. Cardamom tea and cardamom coffee are also popular because of the mighty aroma of the cardamom. Cardamom oil is used to flavoring processed foods, medicines, liquors, and perfumes too.

Grades of Cardamom Small

The high-quality cardamom in Kerala is again classified into different grades with respect to the size and moisture content. Moisture content is not so relevant as it is always preserved below 7% to 6 % for a better storage period. The size grades are 8mm+ , 8 – 7 mm, 7.5 – 6.5 mm, below 6.5 mm etc. The higher the size the higher the grade and prices to have a marginal difference.