Demand for cloves surges in Indian market: low production remains a challenge

Cloves | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Kochi: The demand for cloves produced in India has been increasing in the domestic market. However, the customers have to rely on imported cloves due to the low production in the country.

Though 20,000- 22,000 tonnes of cloves are needed for the domestic market annually, the average production in India is marked as 1,200 tonnes. Hence, around 95 percent of the demand has been met through imported cloves.

Tamil Nadu has topped in the list of production as Kanyakumari alone manufactures 700 tonnes of cloves annually. Kerala, Karnataka and Andaman and Nicobar islands are the other regions where cloves are cultivated.

The cloves’ season which begins in December usually ends in March. Although the farmers refuse to harvest if the price of cloves dips in the market. The present cost is marked at Rs 750- 850 per kilogram. But the price is expected to rise to Rs 1000 with the harvest season.

Indonesia has the highest demand for cloves. But the low production of it in this year will urge Indonesia to depend on other countries including India.

From oil to cigarette

Clove oil is made from its leaves and flowers and it has a huge demand in the market.

The oil extracted from the flowers costs over Rs 1000 for 10 milligrams. It is also used in perfumes, medicines, cosmetics, curry masalas, pastes and so on. It is also an ingredient in the cigarettes manufactured in many countries including Indonesia.

As the Indian cloves are best in quality, they are in high demand in the market. The Kanyakumari clove has already received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag. Efforts to gain the GI tag for the Thalanadu cloves of Kottayam are progressing. It has decided to boost the exports of this clove variant after obtaining the GI tag.

When the demand for cloves surges in India, they are imported mainly from Sri Lanka at a low rate and this, in turn, affects the rate of the cloves produced in India. Though the Sri Lankan cloves are larger in size than the Indian variety, they are poor in quality.

As the cloves have a high cost of production, demands are rising to grant subsidies or concessions offered to other crops for clove farming too. The farmers have sought aids from the Spices Board to carry out the cultivation.

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