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Dry chilli sets Byadgi market on fire with record arrivals

Steady demand and remunerative prices are the major reasons for the popularity of the crop.
Last Updated 26 February 2024, 03:25 IST

Notwithstanding extreme weather conditions, Byadgi chilli, a prized spice known for its vibrant red color, medium heat, and distinctive smoky flavor, is still a popular crop among farmers of north Karnataka.

On February 15, the famed Byadgi red chilli market in Haveri district received a record 83,568 quintals of chilli. This is the highest ever arrival in the market since its inception in 1948.

Steady demand and remunerative prices are the major reasons for the popularity of the crop.

According to data, the Byadgi market has been registering a steady rise in the turnover in the last five years.

In 2023-24, (till February 22), the Byadgi APMC received 10,13,479 quintals of dry chilli. Another four lakh quintals are expected in the next one-and-a-half months. Last year, the total arrivals were 9.9 lakh quintals. 

There is a slight increase in the area under red chilli cultivation in the state as well - from 1.27 lakh ha in 2022-23 to 1.30 lakh ha in 2023-24. Though red chilli is generally an irrigated crop, the rain deficit resulted in 20-30% less yield, according to the Horticulture Department.

Byadgi Chilli Merchants’ Association secretary Raju Morigeri said the market has received the highest load of dry chilli ever in the last two months.

The Byadgi market sells three varieties of chillies - Byadgi Dabbi, Byadgi Kaddi and Guntur chilli. The standard dabbi chilli is sold at Rs 45,000 to Rs 57,000 per quintal, kaddi at Rs 40,000 to Rs 45,000 per quintal and Guntur is priced at Rs 13,000 to Rs 18,000. The prices have been consistently good.

There is always good demand for chilli compared to other commercial crops. 

“This time we are getting good quality Byadgi chilli compared to previous years. The absence of incessant rain might have aided this. We used to get 200-230 colour values in the previous years, but this year the colour value is between 240-260, which is higher than the previous years,” he added. 

Brisk buying

Usually big buyers including MDH, MTR and others used to procure chilli between March and April. As drought hit the state this year, they began buying chillies in the first week of February fearing that the quality might take a hit later. According to chilli traders, the arrivals have been sold to buyers and no stock went to cold storages. There are 25 cold storages in Byadgi and around 30 in Ballari. Whenever there is a drop in the price of chillies, farmers make use of the cold storage facility. 

Karnataka State Spices Development Board Managing Director B R Girish said, the quality of Byadgi chilli cannot be compared to other varieties.

Byadgi chilli is known for medium spice, good colour and essence and it has export quality. Apart from food, Byadgi chilli is being used in the pharmaceuticals and cosmetics industries.

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(Published 26 February 2024, 03:25 IST)

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