Cardamom auction crossed a milestone on Thursday when the first-ever e-auction of the commodity was inaugurated by Union minister of state for commerce Jairam Ramesh at Bodinayakannur.
According to traders, the inaugural auction saws business of 6 tonnes. Prices were almost the same as in Wednesday's conventional auction in Kumily.
At the Cardamom Processing and Marketing Company auction at Kumily on Wednesday, prices declined by Rs 15-Rs 20 a kg from that of the previous auction, on selling pressure.
Launching the new system, the Union minister said it would result in more transparency in trading and the growers would be benefited.
Ramesh said a major change was being brought about in cardamom marketing with the aim to bring about increased benefits to farming community in terms of price and transparency in execution that would curtail the formation of cartels that have been the bane of the prevailing system.
With the introduction of the new system the average price paid to the growers should register an increase than hitherto received by them.
Ramesh said a proposal to replant cardamom in about 30,000 hectares in the next 5-7 years in Kerala, Tamil Ndu and Karnataka at an estimated cost of Rs 211 crore (Rs 2.11 billion) had been approved. Referring to competition from Guatemala, the minister said the only way was to improve productivity and export more to secure a greater share in the market to enable to determine the price at the international level.
Though 12,000 tonnes of cardamom was produced in the country, only 6 per cent was currently exported.
The arrivals at the auction had gone up to 36 tonnes. Almost 60 per cent of the capsules that arrived were of the previous crop.
Maximum price was at Rs 525 a kg and minimum at Rs 275 a kg. Average was Rs 410 a kg. The 8 mm capsule with good colour fetched Rs 500-540 a kg and the 7 mm-8mm was sold at Rs 450500 while 7 mm at Rs 425-Rs 450 a kg. Current bulk was fetching Rs 375Rs 400 a kg.
The arrivals from new crop continued to remain thin because of the late crop and were expected to improve by mid-September when full harvesting would commence.
All the centres are conducting auctions during the week, apart from the first e-auction held at Bodinayakannur.Traders said if the new system was successful, they would switch over to e-auction in a month's time. However, it might take some time for its introduction in other auction centres.