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Chilli hectares to rise despite delayed sowing

According to the reliable sources, though the chilli sowing has been delayed in the key producing States of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka due to late onset and weak progress of monsoon, besides poor reservoir storage in the region, yet the Chilli sowing acreage in the ongoing kharif 2023 season will likely rise in view of high prices last year.
“Small farmers, especially those who take up chilli cultivation on leased lands, are wary of taking up the cultivation due to low water availability in the Nagarjuna Sagar dam. A clear picture will emerge by mid- September. The planting will go on till then,” was quoted as saying Sambasiva Rao Velagapudi, Chairman, and Guntur-based All India Chilli Exporters Association.
He said, Water storage in Nagarjuna Sagar, a few weeks ago, was 15 per cent of the normal as per ‘the Central Water Commission data. Small farmers, who take up cultivation on leased lands, have to pay 70,000-80,000 per acre to the land owners. In addition, they have to incur an expenditure of Rs 30,000 towards sowing once they committed to take up sowing.
“Without any guarantee of water availability, they have to incur a cost of over 1 lakh. So farmers were hesitant to take up e sowing and are in a wait- and-watch mode. They may decide after a fortnight,” Rao said, adding that there’s a similar trend in the Khammam and Warangal districts of Telangana. “If the sowing is affected for another 15 days in Andhra, then the next year’s crop will be lower,” he noted.
However, amidst this disappointing environment, Karnataka, where the Byadgi chillies are widely grown, presented an opposite trend as farmers are bringing more area in view of the record prices fetched last year, “Chilli is seen emerging as an aspirational crop in North Karnataka, where the acreages are expanding to the non-traditional areas such as Bagalkot and Bijapur. We expect the area to increase by 20 per cent this year,” said Basavaraj Hampali a Traders from Hampali Hubballi.
He informed that there was a good demand for seeds this year and the only concern is the unseasonal rains post monsoon. “Due to the high prices of red chilli, we have seen a huge demand for seeds this year too,” he said. Sateesh Nukala, co-founder and CEO of Big Haat, an agritech player, which sells inputs such as seeds and agro-chemicals online. “We have seen a lot of demand for the Teja and Byadgi varieties of seeds and major brands were Mahyco and Syngenta. There is a growth of over 50 per cent in sales as compared to last year on his platform,” Nukala said.