At 15% in August, inflation in spices more than vegetables

Vegetable inflation is high but that of spices is higher, retail inflation data shows. According to experts, pest attacks and decreased production are the main causes of rising spice inflation. The planting of spice seeds is hoped to benefit from a delayed monsoon. Vegetable retail inflation in August reached 13.23%, while spice retail inflation hit 14.90%, according to statistics from the Statistics Ministry.

The price of dried chile (Red Chilli) grew the most in August among the five main spices included in the CPI basket, whereas the increase in retail inflation for turmeric was very mild. The production of jeera, dhania, black pepper, and dry chili decreased, except for turmeric, according to data from the Agriculture Ministry.

Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) data shows that, among other things, vegetables and spices contributed to the rise in food inflation. According to Rajani Sinha, Chief Economist at Care Edge, “cereals, milk, vegetables, pulses, spices, and packaged food all experienced higher inflation during the month.”

Acting Director at ICAR’s National Research Centre on Seed Spices, SN Saxena, believes that there are further factors besides productivity that contributed to a decrease in acreage for various seed spices in 2021–2022, which in turn led to lower production. Many cumin producers, especially in western Rajasthan, switched to the oilseed crop as a result of rising mustard prices. However, as cumin prices have stabilized this year, those farmers are anticipated to return to the crop when seeding begins in the final week of October.

Seed coriander, which is likewise produced throughout the winter and harvested in February or March, is in a similar predicament. Although Rajasthan used to produce the majority of the seed coriander, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are now also making significant contributions to crop output. He stated, “We regard the expected delay in monsoon retreat, which typically begins from September 17, as good for the seed spices crops with increased moisture during sowing.

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