Jeera Prices Rise As More Kitchen Staples Become Unaffordable

Even as consumers reel from the steeply rising tomato prices, and with chillies and ginger also heading in the same direction, it seems the assault on India’s kitchen staples isn’t over yet. Latest news indicated that Jeera (cumin) is going to be the next in a long line of price increases. 

According to TOI the spice has gone from ₹250/kg to ₹850/kg in the retail markets of Lucknow. But this change isn’t a sudden one and it appears that over the last 8 months the cumin prices have seen almost a 300% rise. Most growers are attributing this to two major factors, the smaller crop plantation in 2022 in Gujarat – the country’s main producer state – and the unexpected heavy rainfall the struck in March, compromising the crop.

In homes across the country people are having to make compromises, even though jeera is one of the staples for many classic Indian dishes. Restaurants too are struggling since jeera is in heavy demand for even the most basic restaurant staples like jeera rice or aloo jeera, and many are being forced to ration or adjust their budgets to account for this hike. 

India also serves a lot of export markets in the Middle-East, East Asia and even USA and Turkey. This coupled with the low crop yield has left domestic markets strained and according to wholesalers, the price of jeera might climb as high as ₹1,000/kg during the monsoon. 

Whether used whole, roasted, or ground, jeera's unmistakable presence is an integral part of Indian cuisine, captivating taste buds and contributing to the overall richness of flavours so as the price climbs, Indian chefs are going to need to get creative to work around this new gap in their spice rack.