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General Characteristics
Cardamom is known as the “Queen of Spices”. It is one of the most highly priced and exotic spices in the world. It is a perennial tropical herb plant belonging to the ginger family (Zingibaraceae) and grows from a thick rootstalk up to around 6-10 feet. It is indigenously grown in the evergreen forests of the Western Ghats in South India.
Global Demand-Supply Scenario
  • Cardamom is generally produced in the tropical regions of the world. Gautemala is the largest cardamom producing country followed by India.
  • The total world production of this spice is around 35,000 MT per annum (source: Spices Board).
  • Consumption of cardamom has sharply increased throughout the world during the last two decades. The major consuming countries of cardamom are the Middle Eastern countries, India, Pakistan, European countries, the US, and Japan. Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and South-East Asian countries such as India, etc., account for more than 60% of the world's consumption.
  • Saudi Arabia is the single largest importer of Cardamom in the world, followed by Kuwait. The list of countries / territories that are the major importers is as follows:
    Saudi Arabia | 2. Kuwait | 3. UAE | 4. USA | 5. Japan | 6. Pakistan | 7. U.K | 8. Malaysia | 9. Israel | 10. Australia | 11. Canada | 12. South Africa
Indian Demand-Supply Scenario
  • Till 2000, India used to be the largest producer of Cardamom, and thereafter, Guatemala pushed her to the second position. Cardamom cultivation is concentrated on the Western Ghats in the country; and the Western Ghats are also known as “Cardamom Hills”. In 2012-13, as per provisional trade estimates, India's production is around 12,000 MT.
  • Following states are the major producers of cardamom in India:
    • Kerala - 70%
    • Karnataka - 20%
    • Tamil Nadu - 10%
  • Idukki district in Kerala is the major cardamom-producing area and places such as Udumbanchola taluka, Peermede taluka and Devikulam taluka are important centres in Idukki district.
  • Cardamom is traded as a bulk and graded produce. Cardamom is graded by using sieve and fetches different prices based on their size, colour and freshness, command varied prices. The 7-mm and above grade with fancy green colour commands a premium over other grades.
  • Cardamom finds its place in every kitchen in the world. Cardamom goes into tea, coffee, snacks, sweet dishes, rice preparations, soft drinks - almost all favorite food items of the world. Guatemala produces around 25,000 MT yearly, the largest in the world, accounting for almost 66% of the total global production.
Factors Influencing the Market
  • Freshness, colour, aroma and size
  • Production in competing countries such as Guatemala
  • Annual production in India
  • Seasonal variations and time of arrival of the crop in the market
  • Weather conditions in India
  • Domestic festival demand
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