Black pepper is the dried, mature but unripe berry (fruit) of Piper nigrum, a branching vine or climbing, perennial shrub. It is the most important spice of India and world due to its day‐to‐day use. Black pepper, green pepper and white peppercorns are actually derived from the same fruit (Piper nigrum); the difference in their color is a reflection of varying stages of development and processing methods.India is the largest consumer of pepper in the world and the second largest producer after Vietnam.
It is mostlyfound in hot and moist parts of Southern India. Kerala alone contributes about 90% of the total production in India followed by Karnataka. The rest is contributed by Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Andaman & Nicobar.Within Kerala, Calicut, Cannanore, Kottayam and Idukki districts account for 67 % of the total acreage.Major markets of pepper in India are Cochin,Alleppey, Calicut,Nedumangad, Konni, Adoor, Pala, Alwaye, Thodupuzha,Chalakudy, Badagara, Cannanore, Tellicherry, Kanjangad, Kasargod and Mumbai.
There are different varieties of Black pepper and their names are originated fromthe localities where they grown or from ports through which they are beingexported, e.g. Malabar, Alleppey (Kerala), Lampang, Saigon and Singapore.Majority of the cultivated varieties are monoecious i.e. male and female flowersfound in the same spike. Peppers differ slightly in their physical and chemicalcharacteristics; colour, size, shape, flavour and bite.In plain area, the harvesting season extends from November to January and in hillsfrom January to March. But in Kerala plants flower in the month of May‐June. The crop takes about 6‐8 months fromflowering to harvest.
Pepper price variations are influenced by many factors like international prices,domestic production and consumption; and export – import policies. It has been estimated that pepper production in India is likely to remain at 60000 tonnes for current season.