Research on Black Pepper Takes Professor Joe Barth to India

Posted on Monday, March 21st, 2016

Joe Barth speaks with a group of locals in India
Joe Barth in India during his research trip.

In February as part of the research for a book about black pepper (piper nigrum), Joe Barth travelled to Cochin, India to follow the supply chain from the grower to the exporter.  Highlights of the trip included consultations with an Ayurvedic Doctor about the uses of black pepper in traditional Indian medicine; visits to a medium-sized pepper farm in the western Ghats mountains, rural commissioned spice traders, the India Pepper and Spice Traders Association (where pepper auctions are held) and a lengthy interview with one of the largest pepper exporters in India. 

In addition to these planned activities, Joe's neighbors were fish farmers, who took him to their farms to participate in the harvest of shrimp that this region exports to Canada.  They are sold locally under the President's Choice brand. 

green pepper on the vine

Green pepper

Green pepper on the vine, about two weeks prior to harvest.

Pepper farmer harvesting pepper

Harvesting pepper

Harvesting pepper using a spike ladder

pepper and spice trade building

Selling pepper

Humble though it may seem, thousands of tons of black pepper are auctioned and traded in this building.


Shrimp farmer's shack

Joe Barth sits in one of the shacks.


Sluices in the shrimp farm

Sluices that control water in the shrimp farm.

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