Chili is grown on 63,000 hectares in Pakistan with a crop yield of 2.7 tons per hectare and an annual production of around 171,000 tons. Three districts in Sindh–Badin, Mirpurkhas and Umerkot– represent the national clusters of red chilies production. Kunri, a small town in Umerkot, contributes around 85% of these chilies and is rightly known as one of the largest production centers for red chilies in Asia. Although this sector has experienced an expansion of 145% in the last few years, exports have declined due to a lack of compliance with international standards. The key challenge that the industry is facing is to ensure quality control to bring down the aflatoxinsin chili produced to an acceptable level.
The Agribusiness Project (TAP) works within this value chain to enhance productivity, add value through technological innovation and ensure compliance with international standards, leading to increased exports. Through its interventions, the project aims to provide 1,156 new job opportunities, attract new private sector investment worth USD 3.2 million, ensure the application of new management techniques and technologies by 1,346 farmers, and 25% increase in productivity.
TAP interventions have already increased sales revenue of chili farmers by 46% due to improved practices leading to better quality of product.
- Improve techniques for harvest, and post-harvest through research and development and creating awareness of best practices.
- Technical training on sowing and crop production, and on managing the issue of aflatoxins, improving drying practices, storage and packaging.
- Strengthen the Chili Growers Association and Value Chain Plat form to help make it the apex body for Chili value chain in Pakistan
- Introduce ridge cultivation practice for higher yielding chilli production
- Provide‘Geotex’plastic sheets, plastic bins and packing bags to small farmers for improved product drying practices, leading to reduced aflatoxin levels.
- Develop a marketing strategy for the value chain.
- Facilitate linkages between growers, processors and exporters for increasing market access.
- Establish linkages of medium and large growers with domestic buyers and processors producing innovative, value-added products.
- Support participation in international trade shows for exposure as well as establishing linkages.
The difference between conventional and modern methods is evident. It has convinced us to adapt such practices in future so red chilies can meet the high end market again.