The recent sporadic rains in parts of North Karnataka are helping revive the Byadagi chilli crop for the current season, traders said. The geographical indication (GI) tagged Byadagi chilli is known for its high colour content and low pungency and finds favour both in the domestic and overseas markets for both culinary purpose and oleoresin extraction.

“Recent rains have helped the Byadgi chilli crop in the black soil regions of North Karnataka” said Basavaraj Hampali of Hampali Traders in Hubballi. The chilli crop is currently in the ripening state in some areas and is likely to be harvested from mid-December onwards. The dried Byadagi chillies from the new crop are set to hit the markets from January onwards.

Though lack of timely and inadequate rains had led to delayed transplantation in parts of Dharwad, Haveri, Gadag, Bagalkot, Bellary and Raichur districts, farmers have managed to cover an additional area under the crop using available water resources from borewells and farm ponds as prices of the Byadgi chilli variety have been attractive for most part of the last marketing season, almost double than the previous season. Byadagi chilli prices had ruled between ₹50,000-60,000 last season, almost double from the previous year’s ₹25,000-Rs 30,000 per quintal, Hampali said.

“The acreages are higher by about 30 per cent this year and the crop looks good in several areas. Moreover, this year the incidence of black thrips has reduced further with farmers managing the pest attack,” Hampali said. Black thrips which had surfaced about two years ago had severely impacted the chilli crop in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, while the incidence of the pest infestation had reduced last year.

Tejraj Patil of R G Patil & Co, a large trader in Byadgi said the cropped area is higher this year by 30-35 per cent as the acreages have expanded to newer areas in parts of Bagalkot and surrounding region. “So far the crop looks good and another spell of rain over the next 10-15 days would result in a bumper output,” he said. Also, the trade and processing industry is having a carry forward stocks of about 3.5 lakh bags of Byadagi chillies, Patil added.

Bigger output

Nagappa Kembi, a trader in Byadagi said the crop is good and output is likely to be higher than last year. The only concern now is it should not rain heavily going forward, he said. The Byadagi varieties are trading in the range of ₹40,000-60,000 per quintal, while the Guntur varieties are ruling between ₹15,000-24,000.

While the trade sounds bullish on the Byadagi chilli crop prospects, officials at the University of Horticulture Sciences, Bagalkot said the crop condition does not look good in some rain fed areas due to poor rains. Also due to the black thrips infestation, the numbers of fruits in the chilli plants have reduced, they said.

LG Hiregoudar of K H Patil Krishi Vigyan Kendra in Hulkoti, Gadag said the crop does not look great due to lack of adequate rain. Also there’s an incidence of powdery mildew disease in some areas, which is a cause for concern, he said.