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Chilli Farmers in Ferozepur Break Wheat-Paddy Cycle, Reap Big Profits

Chilli growers in Punjab's border region of Ferozepur are setting an example for other farmers by successfully breaking free from the wheat-paddy crop cycle and enjoying large returns without relying on traditional crops.

Shivam Dwivedi
Chilli Farmers in Ferozepur Break Wheat-Paddy Cycle, Reap Big Profits
Chilli Farmers in Ferozepur Break Wheat-Paddy Cycle, Reap Big Profits

With few people aware that Ferozepur is one of the largest cultivators of chilli crops in the state, the Punjab government recently announced plans to establish a chilli cluster in the border district as part of its agricultural diversification effort.

According to officials, the chilli cluster development initiative will provide technical assistance to a group of chilli growers in order to reduce input costs and improve crop quality in order to tap into export and domestic markets.

In Punjab, over 10,000 hectares of land are under chilli cultivation, with an annual production of approximately 20,000 metric tonnes. Ferozepur has the most area under chilli cultivation in Punjab. According to farmers, Andhra Pradesh is one of the leading states in the country for chilli crop cultivation. After deducting input costs and other expenses, chilli growers make between 1.50 to 2 lakh per acre from their chilli production.

According to them, the income is significantly more than the average of $90,000 per acre for wheat and paddy. Chilli crops are sown in October and November, with harvesting beginning in March and April, according to producers. Some growers even continue with the crop until August, eliminating the need for water-guzzling paddy transplantation during the Kharif season. Manpreet Singh, a pioneering chilli crop planter, claims to earn $2 lakh per acre from the crop.

Singh cultivates chillies on 100 acres of land in Ferozepur's village Lumbriwala, Ghal Khurd block. Red chilli sells for 230-240 per kilogram, while green chilli sells for 20-25 per kg, according to Singh. "We used to grow chilli until June, but last year we extended it until August. As a result, there was no need to cultivate paddy because chilli yielded higher yields," explained the 32-year-old farmer.

According to Singh, the Ferozepur chilli is now recognized, and traders from locations like Ganganagar in Rajasthan and even Andhra Pradesh have begun to come here to buy the harvest. Parrot green chilli is popular in Gujarat, whereas dark green chilli is shipped to Nagpur, Indore, and Bhopal. Three blocks in the Ferozepur district are recognised for cultivating the chilli crop: Ghall Khurd, Ferozepur, and Mamdot.

Punjab horticulture director Shalinder Kaur stated that a cluster development technique has been used to boost farmer income and cut input costs. She stated that the department will assist chilli growers in improving crop quality in order to maximize export possibilities. "20 (chili) farmers have already arrived, and we are assisting wherever possible," she said. We want farmers to grow chilli in the most scientific way possible," she emphasized.

When quality production begins, private entrepreneurs will contact farmers directly to buy their crops, according to the official. Hardeep Singh, another chilli grower from Ferozepur's village Bareke, proposed establishing a processing centre in Ferozepur to produce chilli paste and other products to stimulate the growth of this crop. Chilli is grown in areas other than Ferozepur, including Patiala, Malerkotla, Sangrur, Jalandhar, Tarn Taran, Amritsar, SBS Nagar, and Hoshiarpur.

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