Chilies




Introduction

Chilli (Capsicum annuum L) of family Solanaceae is both a vegetable and a spice crop of significant economic value in Pakistan. It is mainly used for flavouring and imparting the pungency to cooked vegetables and meal. It is a rich source of vitamin A and C. The area, production and average yield of chilies in Pakistan are given in table-I.

Trends, area, production and yield
There has been a progressive decrease in area and production of chili in Pakistan. Since 1999-00 to 2004-05, the area under chili crop has decreased from 86.8 to 48.7 thousand hectares and production from 115.5 to 90.5 thousand tonnes. However, the average yield has increased from 1.3 to 1.9 tones /ha. The data since 1999-00 are as follows.

Table 1. Area, production and yield of chilies in Pakistan (1999-00 to 2004-05)

Year

Area

(000 ha)

Production

(000 tonnes)

Yield

(t/ha)

1999-00

86.8

115.5

1.3

2000-01

84.5

174.6

2.1

2001-02

48.7

93.3

1.9

2002-03

56.4

98.9

1.8

2003-04

55.8

96.4

1.7

2004-05

48.7

90.5

1.9

Table 1. Area, production and yield of chilies in Pakistan (1999-00 to 2004-05)
The average shares of the provinces in the over all area and production of chilli, based on the data of 2004-05, are given in the following table.

Table 2. Shares of provinces in area and production of chilies (2004-05)

Province

Area

Production

000,ha

percent share

000, tonnes

Percent Share

Punjab

5.2

11

8.5

9

Sindh

40.5

83

77.7

86

NWFP

0.7

1

0.8

1

Balochistan

2.3

5

3.4

4

Pakistan

48.7

100

90.5

100

The present national average yield of chilies is 1.9 tonnes/ha which is quite low. To obtain a potential yield, high yielding varieties and improved production technology have to be adopted.

Growing Seasons
Province wise nursery sowing and transplanting times of chilies are given in table- 3.

Manures and fertilizers

Well rotten farm yard manure at the rate of 25-35 t/ha should be incorporated in the soil one month before seed bed preparation. Before transplanting 70-80 kg of phosphorus and 35 kg of nitrogen and 50 kg of potash per hectare should be thoroughly mixed in the soil. This should be followed with a supplementary dose of 25 kg of nitrogen per hectare at the time of fruit setting. Large application of nitrogenous fertilizers should be avoided as it increases vegetative growth and delays maturity.

Irrigation
The first watering is given immediately after sowing and transplanting. Thereafter chilies are usually irrigated every week in summer. Within 15 days of transplanting, it is necessary to apply at least 2 to 3 irrigations for the establishment of the seedlings after that subsequent irrigations should be given at every 10 days interval. Irrigation interval can be increased or decreased according to climatic conditions.

Harvesting
For drying, chilies should be picked when fully ripe and red in colour. After picking the chilies should be spread out in thin layer on mats in the sun for during. Care should be taken not to heap up freshly harvested crop for a long time, as this is apt to rot.

Varieties
Important varieties grown in the country ate Longhi, Talhari, Gothki, Tatapuri, Narwala, Qaisar and area under total cultivation in Sindh and about 50% of total acreage under chilies in Pakistan.

Diseases
The chili crop is subject to diseases which may become very destructive. Seed treatment, crop rotation, seed bed sterilization and fungicide/insecticide sprays, are general control measures that should be followed.

Damping-off
Damping-off is often very destructive to young seedlings, causing the stems to decay near the soil line. Usually it can be kept under control by planting treated seeds in rows 4 to 6 inches apart in well drained beds.

Viral diseases
Cucumber Mosaic Virus
CMV is transmitted by aphid vectors. Infected plants exhibit mosaic mottling, blistering, narrowing and deformation of leaves.
Control: All the infected plants should be removed from the field. Spray suitable insecticide for the control of aphids.

Chili Leaf Curl
The virus is transmitted by whitefly. Curling and yellowing of the leaves and severe stunting of the plants are characteristic symptoms. The leaves are greatly reduced in size with their margins curled upward giving them a boat shape.
Control: All the infected plants should be removed from the field. Spray suitable insecticide for the control of aphids.

Phytophthora blight
The disease is characterized by a dark brown stem discoloration extending upward from the soil line accompanied by a sudden wilt of the entire plant without foliar yellowing.

Control

The collar-rot incidence can be reduced by growing plants on ridges that provide good drainage.

Controlled irrigation can reduce the chance of the disease spread. Care should be exercised that water should not run over the ridges and touch the base of the plant.

A crop rotation cycle of al least 3 years should be followed. The scheme should not include tomato, brinjal, cucurbits and bean as these are also prone to the pathogen.

Courtesy Parc.gov.pk

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