Introduction: – Chili is one of the most valuable crops of India. The crop is grown largely for its fruits all over the India. It is used in India as a principle ingredient of various curries, and chutneys. It is also used for vegetables, spices, condiments, sauces and pickles. Dry chilies are used for curry powder. Red color in chili is due to “Capsanthin”. Pungency in chilies is due .to the active constituent “Capsaicin”, an alkaloid, is extracted from chilies and is used to medicine.
Major chili farming tracts in India: –
State Major chili farming tracts
Andhra PradeshTelangana Guntur, Warangal, Khammam, Prakasam, Krishna, Hyderabad, Nizamabad, Cuddapah, Rajahmundry and Nellore
Karnataka Dharwad, Mysore, Hassan, Bangalore, Bellary, Ranibennur, Hubli, Gadag and Byadgi.
Maharashtra Nagpur, Nasik, Ahmednagar, Solpur, Aurangabad, Nanded, Amravati.
Punjab Amritsar, Nabha, Patiala
Uttar Pradesh Bareilly and Khurja
Tamil Nadu Coimbatore, Ramanathapuram, Tuticorin, Tirunelveli, Virudunagar, Kanayakumari, Madurai, Salem, Tiruchi, Villupuram and Cuddalore Districts
Wes Bengal Murshibad, South & North 24 Parganass, Nadia, Coochbehar, Jalpaiguri, East & West Midnapore districts.
Climate for chili Farming: – The chili is a plant of tropical and sub tropical region it grows well in warm and humid climate and a temperature of 20-25ᵒC. Low moisture in soil during blossom development and fruit formation causes the bud, deblossom and fruit drops. Excessive rainfall is detrimental to the crops, because it brings about defoliation and rotting of the plant. As a rained crop, it is grown in areas receiving an annual precipitation of 25-30 inches.
Best soil for chili farming: – Chili can be grown in a range of soils, but black soils which retain moisture for long periods are suitable for rain fed crop whereas well drained soils, deltaic soils and sandy loams are good under irrigated condition. However, in hills of Uttarakhand, chili is grown in a wide range of soils ranging from sandy to clay loam mixed with gravel and coarse sand.
Maintenance of buffer zone in chili farming: – In organic chili farming, a buffer zone of 7.5-15 m is to be left all around the conventional farm, depending upon the location of the farm. The produce from this buffer zone shall not be treated as organic.
Land and its preparation in chili farming: – Chili can be grown in all type of soft but the sandy-loam, clay loam soils are best suited for it, the soil must be well drained and well aerated. Acidic soils are not suitable for chili cultivation.
The land is prepared by giving 2-3 ploughing and clod crushing after each ploughing. Compost of FYM @ 150-200 quintal should be spread and mixed well in the soil at least 15-20 days before sowing. At the last ploughing O. H. C. @ 8-10 kg per acre of Aldrin or Heftaf @ 10-15 kg per acre should be applied to the soil to protect the crop from white ants and other soil pests.
Planting material/Propagation in chili farming: – Chili is propagated by seeds. For raising nurseries, seeds of high yielding varieties with tolerance to pests and diseases may be used. They should be carefully selected from certified organic farms or from own seed plot which is raised organically. To start with, chemically untreated seeds from local high yielding varieties could be used, in the absence of organically produced seeds.
Varieties of chili: – Pusa Sadabahar, Pusa Jwala and Pant C-14 are the chili varieties for cultivation in Uttrakhand. However, many of the farmers are growing varieties procured from Pantnagar for long and even using their own seeds.
Sowing time and seed rate in Chili farming: – In case of Chili crop, for karif it sown in May-June and for summer crop, it is sown in the month of January. 1 to 1 ½ kg seed is required for 1 hectare area.
Seed Treatment in chili farming: – Seeds should not be treated with any chemical fungicides or pesticides in chili farming. However, it is always beneficial to adopt indigenous practice for seed treatment, wherever possible. The seeds may be treated with Trichoderma and Psuedomonas sp. @ 10 per kg of seed to prevent incidence of seedling rot in the nursery. The ideal time for raising nursery is Februrary-March in the hills of Uttarakhand. Transplanting would be done during the months of April-May. 400 g of seeds would be sufficient for raising nursery for transplantation in an area of acre.
Nursery raising chili: – Fresh chili seeds are sown in well prepared nursery beds. Although it can be sown by broadcast, method in the main field, transplanting method is preferred for better quality and survival. The nursery bed is usually raised from ground level and is prepared by thorough mixing with compost and sand. Seeds treated with Trichoderma are sown and covered thinly using sand. The seeds germination time is 5 to 7 days. About 40-45 days old seedlings are transplanted in the actual field.
Spacing and plantation in chili farming: – 40-50 days old seedlings are used for transplantation. Transplanting is generally done during the April-May in the hills of Uttarakhand. Seedlings are transplanted in shallow trenches/pits or on ridges/level lands. In some places, 60 cm X 60cm or 45 cm X 30 cm or 30 cm X 30 cm spacing is also followed. However, a spacing of 60 cm X 30 cm with a plant population of about 22200 seedlings per acre or 45 cm X 45 cm with a plant population of 19750 per acre is considered optimum.
Direct sowing in chili farming: – Direct sowing is practiced under rain fed conditions. For direct sown crop, the seeds are drilled by the end of March or first week of April. Seed rate is 2.5 to 3.0 kg per acre. After 30-40 days of sowing, thinning and gap filling is done on a cloudy day.
Irrigation/Water supply in chili farming: – Chili cannot withstand heavy moisture. Hence irrigation should be given only when necessary. Frequent and heavy irrigation induces lanky vegetative growth and cause flower shedding. Plant growth, branching and dry matter accumulation are adversely affected by excess irrigation. The number of irrigation and interval between irrigation depends on soil and climatic conditions. If the plants show drooping of leaves at 4 pm, it is an indication that irrigation is needed. Flowering and fruit development in chili are the most critical stages of water requirement. Normally chili is grown under rain fed condition. However, under irrigated condition, care should be taken to avoid using water contaminated with fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides. Irrigation should be done judiciously. Stagnation of water should not be allowed in nursery beds and fields in order to avoid fungal infection.
Inter culture operations/Weed control/Pruning in chili farming: – Grown up seedlings raised by sowing through broadcasting method or in line in ridges should be thinned out by hand 25 to 30 days after sowing the seeds to maintain a plant population of about 30 to 60 plants/m2. The plant density to e maintained finally may depend on the nature and fertility of the soil on marginal soil. The population is maintained high. Generally two weeding/hoeing are required to keep the field free from weeds, the first within 20-25 days of sowing and the other after 20-25 days of the weeding/hoeing. Wherever needed, depending on the weed growth one or two more weeding may be taken up. Weeds which attract pests should be allowed to grow in the field to act as trap and removed before flowering. Ear-thing up is carried out as and when necessary. Chili can be cultivated organically as an inter or mixed crop provided all the other crops are grown under organic methods. It is desirable to include a leguminous crop in rotation with chili farming.
Manures and fertilizers in chili farming: – In chili farming, 10 to 11 tones/ha of FYM or compost is applied at the time of field preparation. In chili for rained crop 50 kg N and 25 kg P should be applied ½ dose of N full dose of P applied at the time of transplanting. Remaining Yi dose of N applied 30 days after transplanting for irrigated crop 100 kg N, 50 kg P & 50 kg K should be applied per hectare fertilizers are applied in four equal doses. First applied at the time transplanting remaining doses are applied at 4th, 111 & 13’ week after transplanting.
Disease control in chili farming: – Fruit rot & Die back caused by colletotrichum capsici and bacterial wilt are the two major diseases in chili farming. Bacterial leaf spot, powdery mildew and mosaic disease (caused by virus) are the major diseases of chili. Careful seed selection and adoption of phytosanitary measures will check the diseases of chili. Early removal of affected plants will control the spread of the disease. Seed treatment with Trichoderma takes care of seedling rot in nursery. Varieties tolerant to diseases should be used wherever the disease should be used wherever the disease is severe. Roughing and destruction of affected plants help in checking the mosaic virus. For effective disease control, 10 g of Trichoderma or Pseduomonas sp. Per litre of water should be used for spraying.
Growth phases in chili farming: – The crop duration of chili is about 150-180 days depending on variety, season and climate, fertility and water management. The growth of chili comprises of vegetative and reproductive phases. In general, the vegetative phase in chili extends to 75-85. Days followed by 75-95 days of reproductive phase. The vegetative phase is characterized by increase in plant height with profuse branching. Heavy branching is preferred for better aeration and sunlight infiltration into the canopy over compact varieties. This also helps in preventing fruit rot. Flowering starts from 80-85 days of the crop or 40-45 days after transplanting. Chili plant is an often cross pollinated crop with 50% of natural crossing. For fruit development and maturity about 40 days time is required after a thesis and pollination.
Harvesting of chili: – Chili is highly perishable in nature. It requires more attention during harvest, storage and transportation. Harvesting should be done at the right stage of maturity.
• Chilies which are used for vegetable purposes are generally harvested while they are still green but full grown.
• Chiles are harvested at red stage for caning purpose. Chilies used drying is harvested at full ripe-stage which can be turned into chili powder.
Yielding of chili: – The yield varies according to the system of cultivation. The yield of dry chilies of rain fed crop is 200-400 kg and that of irrigated crop is 600-1000 kg per acre. The proportion of dry to fresh japed chilies varies from 25 to 40 percent.