Pepper farmers sell stocks to settle gold loans

A section of pepper farmers in the south of India are liquidating their stock to ensure a cash flow following the directive from PSU banks to settle gold loans, reports Hindu BusinessLine. The pressure to liquidate the pepper stocks is coming from banks who, according to the report, are forcing farmers who availed gold loans at a concessional interest rate of 4 per cent to clear outstanding dues.

Earlier, the closing date of these loans was in March, which was later extended to April 30 and then to May 31 in the wake of Covid-19 situation. The farmers are now waiting for the outcome of the meeting between the Finance Minister and heads of nationalised banks for a favourable decision.

Meanwhile, the pepper market in Kochi continues to remain steady in the last few days at Rs.310 per quintal for ungarbled pepper, as buyers are hesitant to purchase at higher rates, while sellers are not ready to liquidate at discount prices.

The off-take on Monday at Kochi was only 15 tonnes as the complete lockdown imposed in Kerala on Sunday hit pepper arrivals. Those farmers who managed to load the stock on Monday morning were able to bring the commodity to the pepper market.

The demand from manufacturers of spice powders and mixtures is continuing. Leading manufacturers who are in red zones are awaiting the outcome of the meeting between the Prime Minister and state chief ministers.

The demand from Bihar and Jharkhand are continuing, which is mainly fulfilled by Karnataka pepper. However, farmers’ move to encash the produce will be a major point to decide on how prices will remain in the coming weeks as well as the demand from major industry players.

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