There is a concessional duty of 8 per cent for the spice under the SAFTA (South Asia Free Trade Agreement), while import of 2,500 tonnes of pepper is allowed at zero duty under the ISLFTA (Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement).
On the other hand, import duty on pepper is kept higher at 52 per cent for ASEAN region and 70 per cent for Brazil and other countries.
"There are apprehensions that since most of the pepper-producing countries are in the ASEAN region, pepper from the region is being routed through Sri Lanka taking advantage of lower duty under SAFTA and ISLFTA," Consortium of Black Pepper Growers Organisation (CBPGO) coordinator Vishwanath K K told PTI.
This has put pressure on domestic pepper prices, which have slumped to Rs 300 per kg at present, he said and urged the government to relook at the duty structure.
A representation on this issue has been made to union ministries of agriculture, commerce and finance, he added.
South India based CBPGO further said that Indian pepper is of high quality and domestic prices have always been about 40 per cent higher than Vietnamese pepper.
But domestic pepper prices have fallen below the cost of production of Rs 341 per kg at present, it said.
While the fixing of minimum import price (MIP) at Rs 500 per kg has helped contain imports to some extent, the local prices still remain lower, it added.
India's pepper output stood at 58,000 tonnes during 2017-18, while the consumption was around 72,000 tonnes, as per the growers body.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)