Capsicum finds new commercial value in Guntur district

Women tending to a capsicum plant at a nursery in Vejendla village in Guntur district.

Women tending to a capsicum plant at a nursery in Vejendla village in Guntur district.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: T. Vijaya Kumar

P. Samuel Jonathan

It is being cultivated under shade net over 65 cents

VEJENDLA (GUNTUR DT): While the red hot Guntur Chilli cultivated on native black cotton soils has set the world on fire, its cool species, Capsicum has found new commercial value in the district. The high-value vegetable rich in Vitamin A and C is being sold for Rs.25- Rs.30 per k.g. in the retail market. Until now, capsicum was being imported from Bangalore, perhaps the reason for being called Bangalore chilli. Kotla Ramesh Reddy, a progressive farmer from Vejendla village in Chebrolu mandal has experimented with capsicum last year and has been reaping good harvest for the last three months. What made this possible was that the cultivation was being done under shade net spread across 65 cents. Similarly capsicum was being cultivated at Pedamattena village in Sattenapalli mandal and in six acres of land at Reddygudem village in Rajupalem mandal. The Department of Horticulture has encouraged farmers to opt for shade net under Shade Net Houses for Vegetable Cultivation Scheme, under which farmer gets Rs.50,000 for 25 cents. The advantages of raising the plants in shade nut were many. The excessive sun light is filtered, considered an ideal condition for the growth of capsicum. Cultivation in simulated conditions also keeps the plant from pest attack.

“Farmers could rotate the crop by raising seedlings from June to November and then cultivate off season vegetables like capsicum from December to May,'' Assistant Director, Horticulture, D. Madhusudan Reddy told The Hindu on Tuesday.

Mr. Reddy, who has been raising nurseries of various vegetables in shade nut conditions, raised capsicum nurseries in December last year with an initial investment of Rs.7 lakh. He got the first crop within 45 days of sowing and since then has been reaping good harvest. “I get a yield of 4/5 quintals per each picking. The earnings have been good so far,'' Mr. Reddy said. Farmers usually opt for local markets since the retail chains insist on daily availability.

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