Pepper Trade and production in Kerala
Pepper, popularly known as black gold holds a prime position in the world of spices.The distribution pattern of pepper across various states of India showed the dominance of Kerala with 94.31% .
Black pepper originated in Kerala. From here it spread to the rest of South and Southeast Asia.Until well after the Middle Ages, virtually all of the black pepper found in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa travelled there from Kerala in India.
Pepper is a plant of humid tropics requiring adequate rainfall and humidity. It grows successfully between 20° North and South latitude. It can be grown from sea level up to an altitude of 1500 M but lower altitudes are preferable.The prebearing period is 3 years. The crop takes 6 to 8 months from flowering to harvest.The whole spike is hand picked when one or two berries in the spike turn bright orange or red.
pepper was historically both a seasoning and a medicine. Long pepper, being stronger, was often the preferred medication, but both were used.Black Pepper (or perhaps long pepper) was believed to cure illness such as constipation, diarrhea, earache, gangrene, heart disease, hernia, hoarseness, indigestion, insect bites, insomnia, joint pain, liver problems, lung disease, oral abscesses, sunburn, tooth decay, and toothaches.
Kochi, Sulthan Bathery in Kerala are the primary markets for black pepper in India.