Zimbabwean paprika prices have increased up to US$ 2 000 a tonne from US$1 200 at the beginning of the season. Grade A crop, known as ‘red gold’, is fetching around US$ 2 200 a tonne up from US$ 1 300. Grade B is fetching between US$ 1 200 and US$ 1 500 a tonne while Grade C is fetching around US$ 400.
The paprika season usually runs until the end of August. The quality of the yielded crop is low compared to last year. Paprika was heavily affected by long periods of dryness this season and there are fears of lower yields.
Small-scale growers with little access to irrigation facilities have been affected by the long dry spell. However, farmers with irrigation facilities have already started to prepare for the next season.
Players in the paprika industry are yet to ascertain how much crop would be reaped across the country. A total of 12 984 tonnes of paprika were realised in 2002 as against 12 789 tonnes in 2001.
Industry sources have projected that this year’s harvest could be in the same range. An overall evaluation of the global paprika scenario points that the paprika production in many of the main producing regions is going to experience decrease in the yields.
Some eastern European countries have experienced below average crops due to severe floods late last year.
Production is also expected to drop in Israel and the Middle East. South African farmers are now opting for maize (due to favourable prices) and it is expected that the paprika yield will be reduced considerably there.
In Peru, one of the major producers, high rainfall associated with El Nino is likely to affect production.-SpicesOnline