From hero to niche product
Two decades ago the absolute top range white pepper was coming from a small island in Indonesia. Muntok white pepper has been the market reference for years. Until today.
Muntok white pepper originates from the island of Bangka and its neighboring Belitung Island, in the Java Sea. The name is derived from the main port; Muntok.
Farmers are abandoning their pepper gardens. The reason is quite simple. Growing pepper is rather labor intensive and the yield the last couple of years has been fairly low. Farmers have invested in easy growing palms in order to produce palm oil. Prices for palm oil are much more favorable compared to pepper. Furthermore pepper gardens are making place for tin mining. Prices for tin are foreseen to reach an all-time high by the end of this year.
As a result production of Muntok white pepper is foreseen to rapidly decline. For this year main processors calculate with a decrease in production as high as 50% compared to last year.
Traditional buyers for Muntok white pepper should be aware of the situation and not hesitate in covering the requirements for the upcoming season.