In the last month, minimums went so down over parts of Kerala that even higher reaches of coastal areas were experiencing frost.
What is Frost?
When minimums go down below 4℃, chances of frost become bright. In general terms, freezing of dew on earth’s surface is known as Frost. Frosts make the situation worse from agricultural point of view because it forms a layer over leaves of plants and crops thereby choking them from breathing. Thus, crop’s growth retards.
Harmful effects of frost on Cardamom-
Due to significantly dropping minimums over many parts of Kerala, frost had resulted in significant drop in cardamon production in Kerala in the last month. A sudden drop of 10% has been noticed in the production. Moreover, this situation has been noticed not only in the case of cardamom, but similar percentage of fall in tea production was also reported.
According to Kerala Cardamom Growers association, “things have already been worse from agricultural point of view. First of all, the deadly floods in August had swept the entire state, thereby lowering Cardamom production by 40 to 50%. Till the time farmer were trying to make things work out once again and overcome this distress, chilly weather made an entry making the situation worse that the worst, adding 10% more downfall to already 40 to 50% low production”.
What’s frightening is that this has occurred when farmers were dreaming a better harvest season this time. They even dreamed of re-plantation and re- generation of plants. However, looking at the current situation it seems, all their dreams have gone in vain. A planning of replanting on 10,000 hectares was in store, however now it holds zero importance.
Cardamom Price Hike
Frost has significantly resulted in hiking the price of Cardamom. Due to lower production and crops running short of supply, prices have suddenly seen a hike and have reached till Rs. 1500/kg. To express this in percentage form, a rise of 10% has been notified so far. In the last couple of weeks, prices have increased by rupees 200 more. This means Cardamom is standing at Rs. 1700/kg at present. Even the best variety of Cardamom which is scarce in nature is standing at Rs. 1700/kg. This is because low availability of this produce.
On the other hand, hike in price has proven to be a boon for middlemen who keep a stock of these commodities and auction these through pooling bids with other bidders. Cardamom growers were left with no choice but to to sell their commodities. Union made this situation even deadlier for them by hiking wage rate to Rs 600 per day from the current wage rate of Rs. 361.
Kerala has remained short of rains so far. Many of the plantation areas such as Vandanmedu are high with rain deficiency around 40%. Moreover, farmers are in distress because agricultural department has not extended any helping hands in restoration of crops after these have been injected with fungal disease in the form of panicles and tillers.
Looking at all these depressing conditions, one can sense delay in Cardamom produce in the near future. Already a 1/3 drop has been anticipated. Farmers are left with no choice but to opt for costly irrigation now. This is going to be tough because the agricultural sector is already running under crisis and no help could be imagined from them.
Looking at the current situation, government is planning to sign a mutual contract with the government of Saudi Arabia for exporting Cardamom. "Production of Cardamom has been banned there as as some issues related to pesticides residue limits have set in," reports say.
Image Credits – One Green Planet
Any information taken from here should be credited to Skymet Weather