Sri Lankan pepper exports to the
Indian consumer market have come to a standstill due to Indian government’s decision to impose a minimum
import price of Rs. 500 per kilo on black pepper in contravention of the Free
Trade Agreement with Sri Lanka, the Spices and Allied Products Producers’ and
Traders Association (SAPPTA) of Sri Lanka said accortding to Sri Lankan Media
SAPPTA Acting Chairman GS Chatoor
said: "India is Sri Lanka’s biggest export destination for pepper.
Moreover India has delayed the clearing of a number of shipments from Sri
Lanka. The officials have not budged
despite continuous appeals.
"Effective from December 2017,
the Government of India has introduced a Minimum Import Price (MIP) for Pepper
of Indian Rupees 500 per kilo which increases the price of Sri Lankan Pepper to
USD 7,700 per metric tonne. Currently we export pepper at around USD 4,600. The
increased price has made Sri Lankan pepper not viable for the Indian importers.
They have stopped buying Sri Lankan pepper.
Chatoor said that it was the latest
measure adopted by India to prevent pepper imports from Sri Lanka.
Only the light berry pepper which Indians use to
extract oil is allowed in. India is the world leader in extracting oil from
pepper. But pepper imports for consumer markets have stopped. The Indians have
done the same with areca nuts." Indian media reported that the decision to
impose a minimum import price on black pepper had helped improve local prices
of the commodity.