Guntur: In an effort to promote the cultivation of high quality chilli, the Guntur agriculture market committee has decided to enter the processing sector. The market committee is setting up a chilli processing unit to manufacture chilli powder. The move is aimed at adding value to agricultural produce and will help growers reap high dividends on production of quality stock with organic standards.
Though Guntur market yard has been handling the highest volume of dry red chilli in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the decision to enter the processing sector is likely to be a boon to local farmers. The market committee has already set up a quality testing laboratory in the market yard and plans to procure high quality stocks from farmers starting next season.
Chilli powder produced by the yard will be marketed by AP Markfed after securing trade licences. The chilli powder is likely to be marketed under the brand name ‘Guntur Karam’.
While some FMCG firms, including tobacco-to-agro-products giant ITC, already produce and market high quality chilli powder in the market, “we are not worried about the competition in the market because there is huge demand for end consumer products from agricultural produce. We are confident of creating our own market base after the launch of the products,” said agriculture market committee chairman Chandragiri Yesurathnam. The chilli powder plant is being set up to create a bigger market for chilli products in the market yard and prevent fluctuations in price, Yesurathnam said. Among commercial crops, chilli cultivation is a cost-intensive business as farmers invest nearly Rs 1.2 to Rs 1.5 lakh per acre. Yields range anywhere between 15 to 25 quintals.
Even after getting a good yield, farmers are guaranteed profit only when prices are around Rs 8,000 per quintal. Farmers usually get between Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 per quintal in three out of four seasons and over Rs 10,000 per quintal in one season. “A few chilli powder plants are there in and around Guntur city. We might need more players in the field to stabilise prices in the market and help farmers get good returns,” said Lanka Kranti Sekhar, a chilli exporter.