Chilli

Chilli is one of the most important cash crops grown in Sri Lanka. It has become an essential ingredient in Sri Lankan meals. Percapita consumption of chilli in the form of dry chilli is estimated 2.84 kg per annum and the national annual requirement of dry chilli is around 57,400 mt. The annual production of dry chilli is about 7,500 Mt. Therefore, an amount of 49,928 Mt is imported (Year 2015 figures). Chilli contributes on an average Rs. 5,000 million to GDP and creates employment of 5.3 million work days annually. Chilli is extensively grown for dry chilli production, but part of the crop is harvested as green pods. The average extent under chilli at present is around 13,000 ha, of which 2/3 is cultivated in maha season

Department of Agriculture has recommended 10 open pollinated chilli varieties up to now namely MI-1, MI-2, KA-2, Arunalu, MI- Hot, MI Green, Galkiriyagama Selection, MI waraniya 1, MICH 3, MIPC 1. The potential yield of these varieties is 10-15 t/ha as green chilli, but the national average yields is around 5.13 t/ha. Such low yields are mainly due to high incidences of pest and diseases, moisture stress, use of inferior quality seeds, poor crop management and high input costs. First local chilli hybrid, MICH HY 1 developed by the Department of Agriculture released in year 2015 with the yield potential of 32t/ha as green chilli.

Chilli is cultivated in large scale in the dry zone especially in north central province and the intermediate zone. At present, major chilli growing districts are Anuradhapura, Moneragala, Ampara, Putthalama, Vavuniya, Kurunegala, Hambantota and Mahaweli System H. According to the information received from the chilli farmers in the dry zone, the biotic stress condition mainly leaf curl complex (LCC) is the main reason behind the lower extent of cultivation and the poor yield levels reported in Yala season. Water shortage and late water issues in Yala season have caused severe incidence of pest out breaks and consequent crop losses.

Extents (ha) and Production (Mt) and Imports of chilli during 2011-2015

Year

Extent (ha)

Green chilli Production(mt)

Dry chilli Import (mt)

2011

13313

44398

         42,782

2012

14728

61541

         40,666

2013

15454

72020

         44,050

2014

13978

71767

         46,422

2015

13029

62866

         49,928


Recommended Open Pollinated Varieties (OPV)

1.MI - 1

Pedigree

Myliddy X Tuticorin

Origin

ARS, Maha Illuppallama

Year of release

1962


A tall variety with an erect growth habit which attains a height of 75 - 100 cm, depending on the soil type. It is more suitable for cultivation during the maha season in rainfed uplands, but it is susceptible to leaf curl complex (LCC) and anthracnose, and therefore, gives comparatively low yields of about 1000 - 2000 kg ha-1 of dry chillies. The pods have a moderate pungency and are green becoming red coloured when ripe. The fruit surface is weakly wrinkled; the calyx is enveloping and the fruit ends are acute and strongly tapered.

General characteristics

Seed (1000 seed weight in the dry stage

6 g

Seedling 10 - 15 days Anthocyanin coloration of hypocotyl

present

Time to 50% flowering

medium

Plant habit

tall and stemmed

Stem Length of stem from cotyledons
- to first flower

long

Anthocyanin coloration at nodes Leaf

present

Leaf length

medium

Leaf Width

broad

Leaf Color

medium green

Fruit (1st or 2nd fruit)

Attitude

pendulous

Color before maturity

green

Color at maturity

red

Length

long (10 cm)

Diameter

small (1 cm)

Shape of apex

acute and strongly tapered

Calyx

enveloping

Texture of fruit surface

weakly wrinkled and glossy

Shape of longitudinal section

narrow, triangular

Shape of cross section

round

Mean number of locules/fruit

2

Taste

pungent


2. MI - 2

Pedigree

Selection from MI - 1

Origin

ARS, Maha Illuppallama

Year of release

1973


MI - 2 has short plant stature with a compact, dense canopy having the appearance of a pruned tea bush. The thin pericarp of the fruits facilitates drying and the pungency of the fruits is higher than that of MI -1. This variety does well in all chillie growing areas and can be successfully grown in both the yala and maha seasons. Flowering starts 75 - 80 days after sowing and the first harvest can be taken in 110 - 115 days after sowing. From a well-managed crop, 6 - 7 picks can be harvested at 7 - 10 day intervals up to 155 - 170 days after sowing. With supplementary irrigation, the average yield in yala is about 2500 - 3000 kg ha-1 and in maha about 1500 - 2000 kg ha-1 . The variety also has a moderate level of resistance to the leaf curl complex disease. The pods are dark green in colour, and have weakly wrinkled surface, and slightly enveloping calyxes. The pods have tapering ends and acute apices. The ripe pods are red in color.

General characteristics

Seed (1000 dried seeds) size Seedling 10 - 15 days

medium, 4.5 g

Anthocyanin coloration of hypocotyl:

present

Time to 50% flowering

medium

Plant habit

short, bushy

Stem Length of stem from cotyledons
- to first flower

medium

Anthocyanin coloration at nodes

present

Leaf
Length

short-medium

Width

dark green

Color

green

Fruit (1st or 2nd fruit)
Attitude

pendulous

Color before maturity

dark green

Color at maturity

red

Length

medium (6 - 8 cm)

Diameter

small (1 cm)

Shape of apex

acute tapered

Calyx

slightly enveloping

Texture of fruit surface

weakly wrinkled and glossy

Shape of longitudinal section

narrow, triangular

Shape of cross section

round

Mean number of locules /fruit

2

Taste (when immature)

pungent


3. KA - 2

Pedigree

(MI - 2 X PC - 1)

Origin

RARC, Karadhiyan Aru

Year of release

1991


A variety particularly bred for the eastern region where mosaic and leaf curl diseases prevent the cultivation of other varieties as MI -1 and MI - 2. It produces economic yields under low management practices and occasional water stress. The variety, later found to be adapted to other chilli growing regions of the dry zone as well is suited for producing green chilli as much as dry chilli due to its comparatively long (6-8cm) and wide (1.3 cm) pods. Its thicker (1.3mm) fruit wall compared with other varieties, results in a longer drying time. The properly dried chilli have good appearance when new; however, the color changes to blackish red within a short period in storage. For the longer drying time and its susceptibility to the anthracnose disease, KA - 2 is more suited to growing in the Yala season than in the Maha season. At the early stages of growth, the plant characteristics of KA - 2 are difficult to tell from that of MI 2. Both varieties have compact growth habits. However, at maturity KA - 2 produces a loosely compact uneven canopy with a height of about 40 - 45 cm. The leaves of KA - 2 are also darker green in color than of MI - 2.

The average dry chilli yield of KA - 2 under supplementary irrigation is about 2500 - 3000 kg ha-1 in the Yala season and about 1500 - 2000 kg ha-1 in the Maha season. The variety has a high level of tolerance to the leaf curl complex disease in the early stages of the crop.

General characteristics

Seed size

4.5 g

Seedling Stem color

green

Time to flowering (50%)

83 days

Plant habit

compact, with loose canopy

Stem Color

green

Anthocyanin coloration at nodes

present

Pubescence

absent

Leaf
Length

7.7 cm

Width

2.9 cm

Color

green

Flower

 

Corolla color

white

Fruit (1st or 2nd fruit)

 

Position

declining

Color before maturity

green

Color at maturity

red

Length

8 - 11 cm

Diameter

1.3 cm

Shape

elongate

Shape at pedicel attachment

obtuse

Shape of blossom end

pointed

Calyx margin

intermediate

Cross sectional corrugation

slight

Pungency

intermediate

Thickness of fruit wall

1.3 mm (thick)

Days to first harvest

 

Yala

115 days

Maha

140 days

Reaction to pests

 

Anthracnose

susceptible

Thrips

moderately resistant

Yield

 

Yala (with irrigation)

2500 kg ha-1

Maha (with irrigation)

1500 - 2000 kg ha-1


4. Arunalu (BL - 39)

Pedigree

MI - 2 X Santaka

Origin

FCRDI, Maha Illuppallama

Year of release

1996


The chilli, Arunalu has an erect plant type which reduces the mutual shading of leaves and allows more light to penetrate through the canopy. The pods which are erect in position during early stages, decline gradually to an intermediate position at full maturity. The pods mature 7 - 10 days earlier than in MI - 2 and KA - 2, and has a more concentrated fruiting habit which enables about 85% of the pods to be harvested in 3 - 4 picks. Pods become bright red and glossy when ripe and highly pungent. The dry chilli have long shelf life of about 9 months and the red color does not change or fade easily as in KA - 2 or MI - 2 in storage. Arunalu has a moderate level of resistance to the anthracnose and LCC diseases. It is well adapted to all chilli growing areas and can be grown in both the Yala and Maha seasons. Flowering starts at 70 - 75 days after sowing and the first harvest can be obtained in 105 - 110 days. The average dry pod yields in the Yala season under irrigation is about 2500 - 3500 kg ha-1 and in the Maha season under Rainfed conditions is about 1500 - 2000 kg ha-1. Higher yields can be obtained if grown in the Yala season under irrigation with good management.


General characteristics

Seed size - 1000 seed weight

5.0 g

Seedling

 

Hypocotyl color

white

Stem color

green

Time to flowering (50%)

80 days

Plant habit

erect, comparatively less leafy

Stem

 

Anthocyanin coloration at nodes

present

Pubescence

intermediate

Leaf Length

medium

Leaf Width

narrow

Leaf Color

medium green

Flower

Corolla color

white

Anther color

blue green

Calyx pigmentation

absent

Fruit (1st or 2nd fruit) 

Position

erect (upward) and partly declining at maturity

Color before maturity

dark green

Anthocyanin coloration on fruits

absent

Color at maturity

red

Length

medium (about 7 - 9 cm)

Diameter

small (about 1.0 cm)

Shape

elongate

Shape at pedicel attachment

obtuse

Shape of blossom end

acutely pointed

Calyx margin

intermediate

Texture of surface

weakly wrinkled, glossy

Cross sectional corrugation

slight

Mean number of locules

two

Pungency

high

Reaction to pests Anthracnose

moderately resistant

Thrips

moderately resistant

Yield  

 

Yala (irrigated)

2500 - 3500 kg ha-1

Maha (with irrigation)

1500 - 2000 kg ha-1


5. MI-HOT

Pedigree

(BL39 x IR) x KA-2

Origin

FCRDI, Maha Illuppallama

Year of release

2002

This variety does well in all chilli growing areas and can be successfully grown in both the yala and Maha seasons. Flowering starts 80 days after sowing and the first harvest can be taken in 110 - 115 days after sowing. From a well-managed crop, 7 - 9 picks can be harvested at 7 - 10 day intervals up to 155 - 170 days after sowing. With supplementary irrigation, the average yield in Yala is about 2500-3500 kg ha-1 and in Maha about 2000 kg/ ha. The variety also has a moderate level of resistance to the leaf curl complex disease. This variety shows moderate tolerance to anthracnose disease and field tolerance to other fungal diseases such as cercospora and coniophora blight. It performs well under rain fed condition in Maha season and ability to grow under low soil moisture condition. Storability and the quality of dry pods, color and appearance are also better than that of MI-2 and KA-2. This variety can be used for both dry and green chilli production. Pods are dark green in color, and have weakly wrinkled surface, and slightly enveloping calyxes. The pods have tapering ends and acute apices. The ripe pods are red in color.

General characteristics

Seed (1000 dried seeds) size

5 g

Seedling 10 - 15 days Anthocyanin coloration of hypocotyl

present

Time to 50% flowering

80 days

Plant habit

Intermediate(55-60cm)

Stem

 

Length of stem from cotyledons- to first flower

medium

Anthocyanin coloration at nodes

present

Leaf 

Length

medium

Width

medium

Color

green

Fruit (1st or 2nd fruit)

 

Attitude

pendulous

Color before maturity

dark green

Color at maturity 

red

Length

medium (6 - 8 cm)

Diameter

1 - 1.15 cm

Shape of apex

pointed

Calyx

slightly enveloping

Texture of fruit surface

weakly wrinkled ,smooth

Shape of longitudinal section

narrow, elongated

Shape of cross section

round (slightly corrugated)

Mean number of locules /fruit

2

Taste (when immature)

pungent

6. MI Green

Pedigree

(MI 2 x IR) (MI 2 x 142A)

Origin

FCRDI, Mahailuppallama

Year of release

2009

 
This variety perform well in all chilli growing areas and can be successfully grown in both the Yala and Maha seasons. Under well managed condition plant height increased more than 70 cm with 10-12 cm long pods. Pods are having dark green shiny surface with high level of pungency. Under irrigated condition potential yield of this variety is 12-15t/ha as green chilli.

General characteristics

Seed size - 1000 seed weight

4.5 g

Seedling 10 - 15 days Anthocyanin coloration of hypocotyl

 present

Hypocotyl color

white

Stem color

green

Time to flowering (50%)

80 days

Plant growth habit

Intermediate to erect

Stem color

 green

Anthocyanin coloration at nodes

present

Leaf Pubescence

moderate

Leaf Length

13.3 cm

Leaf Width

3.3 cm

Color

light green

Flower 

Corolla color

white

Anther color

blue green

Calyx pigmentation

absent

Fruit (1st or 2nd fruit) 

Attitude

pendant

Color before maturity

green

Anthocyanin coloration on fruits

absent

Color at maturity

red

Length

long (about 10 - 12 cm)

Diameter

small (about 1.3 cm)

Shape at pedicel end

Mostly obtuse, rarely acute

Shape of apex

pointed

Shape of longitudinal section

triangular

Calyx annular constriction

Rarely present

Texture of surface

Semi-wrinkled

Shape of cross section at base

Moderately corrugated

Pungency

high

Reaction to Anthracnose

moderately resistant

Thrips

moderately resistant

Yield  

 

Yala (irrigated)

12-15 t/ha (Green chilli)

Maha (with irrigation)

15 t/ha (Green chilli)

7. Galkiriyagama selection

Pedigree

Selection from locally grown landrace in Anuradhapura district during 1990s

Origin

FCRDI/Mahailuppallama

Year of release

2009


This variety was developed through the evaluation and selection of local landraces and recommended for North Central province in Sri Lanka. Galkiriyagama selection has small leaves compere to other released varieties with erect growth habit plant which grow up to 60 cm. Pods are suitable for green chilli as well as dry chilli with the length of 8-10 cm. Under irrigated condition potential yield of this variety is >12 t/ha as green chilli and 3 t/ha as dry chilli. Keeping quality of this variety as dry chilli is very high and can store around 5 months without color changes.

General characteristics

Seed size - 1000 seed weight

4.5g

Seedling 10 - 15 days Anthocyanin coloration of hypocotyl

 present

Hypocotyl color

white

Stem color

green

Time to flowering (50%)

80 days

Plant growth habit

Intermediate to erect

Stem color

 green

Anthocyanin coloration at nodes

present

Leaf Pubescence

moderate

Leaf Length

9.5 cm

Leaf Width

2.3 cm

Leaf Color

green

Flower 

Corolla color

White

Anther color

purple

Calyx pigmentation

absent

Fruit (1st or 2nd fruit) 

Fruit position

pendant

Color at mature stage

Green

Anthocyanin coloration on fruits

absent

Color at ripen stage

Red

Length

8-10 cm

Diameter

1-1.1 cm

Shape at blossom end

pointed

Fruit shape

elongated

Fruit shape at attachment

obtuse

Calyx annular constriction

absent

Texture of surface

Semi-wrinkled

Shape of cross section at base

slightly corrugated

Pungency

high

Reaction to pests Anthracnose

moderately resistant

Thrips

moderately resistant

Yield   

Yala (irrigated)

12- 15 t/ha (Green chilli)

Maha (with irrigation)

12-15 t/ha (Green chilli)

8. MI Waraniya 1

Pedigree

Selection from locally grown landrace in wet Zone

Origin

FCRDI/Mahailuppallama

Year of release

2011


This variety is very popular among consumers in Low Country Wet Zone in Sri Lanka. MI Waraniya 1 can be used as green chilli and as vegetable. This variety has attractive yellowish green color 18 – 20 cm long pods with moderate level of pungency. It is highly suitable for home garden and crop can be maintained throughout the year with pruning of mature branches time to time. Potential yield of MI Waraniya 1 is 20 – 25 t/ha as green chilli. This variety can’t be used as dry chilli due to high pericarp thickness. It shows moderate resistant to Chilli Leaf Cur Complex.

General characteristics

Seed size - 1000 seed weight

5.5 g

Seedling 10 - 15 days Anthocyanin coloration of hypocotyl

 present

Hypocotyl color

white

Stem color

green

Time to flowering (50%)

80 days

Plant growth habit

erect

Stem color

 green

Anthocyanin coloration at nodes

present

Leaf Pubescence

moderate

Leaf Length

11.6 cm

Leaf Width

4.5 cm

Leaf Color

Light green

Flower 

Corolla color

White

Anther color

purple

Calyx pigmentation

absent

Fruit (1st or 2nd fruit) 

Fruit position

pendant

Color at mature stage

Yellowish green

Anthocyanin coloration on fruits

absent

Color at ripen stage

Red

Length

18 – 20 cm

Diameter

2 – 2.2 cm

Shape at blossom end

pointed

Fruit shape

elongated

Fruit shape at attachment

obtuse

Calyx annular constriction

absent

Texture of surface

Semi-wrinkled

Shape of cross section at base

slightly corrugated

Pungency

medium

Reaction to pests Anthracnose

moderately resistant

Yield   

Yala (irrigated)

20 – 25 t/ha (Green chilli)

Maha (with irrigation)

20 - 25 t/ha (Green chilli)

9. MICH 3

Pedigree

(MI 1 x Wonder Hot)

Origin

FCRDI/Mahailuppallama

Year of release

2011


MICH 3 has semi erect plant type which allows better penetration of sunlight through its loosely dense canopy. Under well managed condition plant grow up to 60 cm. It has a potential yield of more than 15 t/ha of green chilli. The attractive dark green moderate size of pods, 8-10 cm in length with glossy surface and high pungency are ideal characteristics of this variety for green chilli. This variety has moderate level of resistant to Chlli Leaf Curl Complex at field level.

General characteristics

Seed size - 1000 seed weight

5 g

Seedling 10 - 15 days Anthocyanin coloration of hypocotyl

 present

Hypocotyl color

white

Stem color

green

Time to flowering (50%)

80 days

Plant growth habit

intermediate to erect

Stem color

 green

Anthocyanin coloration at nodes

present

Leaf Pubescence

spares

Leaf Length

8.7 cm

Leaf Width

2.9 cm

Leaf Color

green

Flower 

Corolla color

White

Anther color

purple

Calyx pigmentation

absent

Fruit (1st or 2nd fruit) 

Fruit position

pendant

Color at mature stage

Green

Anthocyanin coloration on fruits

absent

Color at ripen stage

Red

Length

8-10 cm

Diameter

1.1 cm

Shape at blossom end

pointed

Fruit shape

elongated

Fruit shape at attachment

obtuse

Calyx annular constriction

absent

Texture of surface

smooth

Shape of cross section at base

slightly corrugated

Pungency

high

Reaction to Anthracnose

moderately resistant

Yield   

Yala (irrigated)

12-15 t/ha (Green chilli)

Maha (with irrigation)

12-15 t/ha (Green chilli)

10. MIPC 1

Pedigree

Selection from locally grown landrace in Eastern Province in Sri Lanka

Origin

FCRDI/Mahailuppallama

Year of release

2014


This variety was developed through the evaluation and selection of a local landrace and recommended for Eastern province in Sri Lanka. Conical shape pods with medium size (4-5 cm in length and 2 cm in width) and high pungency are the most preferred characteristics of this variety. This is a dual-purpose variety (green chilli and dry chilli) which can be cultivated in both Yala and Maha season. Under irrigated condition potential yield of this variety is >15 t/ha as green chilli and 3.5 t/ha as dry chilli. Keeping quality of this variety as dry chilli is very high.

General characteristics

Seed size - 1000 seed weight

5.2 g

Seedling 10 - 15 days Anthocyanin coloration of hypocotyl

 present

Hypocotyl color

white

Stem color

green

Time to flowering (50%)

80-85 days

Plant growth habit

erect

Stem color

 green

Anthocyanin coloration at nodes

present

Leaf Pubescence

sparse

Leaf Color

Light green

Flower 

Corolla color

White

Anther color

purple

Calyx pigmentation

absent

Fruit (1st or 2nd fruit) 

Fruit position

pendant

Color at mature stage

green

Anthocyanin coloration on fruits

absent

Color at ripen stage

Red

Length

4.5 – 5 cm

Diameter

1.8 – 2 cm

Shape at blossom end

blunt

Fruit shape

conical

Fruit shape at attachment

obtuse

Calyx annular constriction

absent

Texture of surface

smooth

Fruit cross-sectional corrugation

even

Pungency

high

Reaction to Anthracnose

moderately resistant

Yield   

Yala (irrigated)

>15 t/ha (Green chilli)

Maha (with irrigation)

>15 t/ha (Green chilli)

Recommended Hybrid Varieties

Exploitation of heterosis by developing hybrids is the best way of achieving higher yield and other quality characters. Most of the chilli growing countries in the world have increased the productivity using hybrid chilli varieties along with high-tech agriculture (green house, drip and sprinkler irrigation). Sri Lankan farmers prefer to cultivate imported chilli hybrids. But, the price of these hybrid seeds is very high and most of the exotic chilli hybrids are highly susceptible to major pest and diseases in chilli showing less adaptability under local condition. Therefore, it is very important to develop local chilli hybrids adapted to local condition for Sri Lankan farmers. Therefore, Field Crops Research and Development Institute has initiated chilli hybrid development program with the purpose of developing high yielding local chilli hybrids with resistant or tolerant to major biotic and abiotic stresses for Sri Lankan chilli farmers.

1. MICH HY 1 (1st Local chilli Hybrid)

Pedigree

(Galkiriyagama inbred line x MI Waraniya 1 inbred line)

Origin

FCRDI/Mahailuppallama

Year of release

2015


This is the 1st local chilli hybrid, MICH HY 1 developed by the Department of Agriculture. This hybrid variety is highly suitable for green chilli with the potential yield of 32 t/ha of green chilli. MICH HY 1 perform well in all the major chilli growing areas within the country during both Yala and Maha seasons. It has longer crop duration (> 180 days) compare to other open pollinated chilli varieties released. MICH HY 1 exhibit highly branched tall plant (around 75 cm) architecture with high pungent long (around 14cm) light green color pods. Also, it is very good for potted chilli cultivation giving higher yield. This variety is Moderate Resistant to Chilli Leaf Curl Complex, the major problem in chilli cultivation within the country.

General characteristics

Seed size - 1000 seed weight

6.4 g

Seedling 10 - 15 days Anthocyanin coloration of hypocotyl

 present

Hypocotyl color

white

Stem color

green

Time to flowering (50%)

63 days

Plant growth habit

erect

Stem color

 green

Anthocyanin coloration at nodes

present

Leaf Pubescence

moderate

Leaf Length

10.21 cm

Width

2.97 cm

Color

green

Flower

 

Corolla color

White group 137A

Anther color

purple

Calyx pigmentation

absent

Fruit (1st or 2nd fruit) 

Fruit position

pendant

Color at mature stage

Green group 143 C

Anthocyanin coloration on fruits

absent

Color at ripen stage

Red group 46 B

Length

long (about 14 cm)

Diameter

small (about 1.3 cm)

Shape at blossom end

pointed

Fruit shape

elongated

Fruit shape at attachment

obtuse

Calyx annular constriction

absent

Texture of surface

Semi-wrinkled

Shape of cross section at base

slightly corrugated

Pungency

high

Reaction to Chilli Leaf Curl Complex

moderately resistant

Yield   

Yala (irrigated)

32 t/ha (Green chilli)

Maha (with irrigation)

32 t/ha (Green chilli)

Crop Management Practices

Climatic and environmental requirements

Although chilli can be cultivated up to 1600 amsl the most suitable area is the low country dry zone. However, green chilli can be cultivated in the wet zone successfully. The optimal temperature for chilli cultivation is 24 0C – 27 0C.

Soil requirement

Chilli needs a deep, well drained loam soil. Water logging condition in field even for few days may result in significant reduction of growth.

Type of variety - Open Pollinated Variety 

                             Hybrid variety

Land selection and development

Much attention is needed on proper drainage under rice-based cropping systems. Therefore, it is required to select the well-drained or moderately well drained land blocks (“Goda liyadu”) for chilli cultivation. Even on uplands, attention must be paid on the status of the drainage of the land.


Soil conservation is very important to have a sustainable chilli cultivation in the upland irrigated condition. It is recommended to prepare soil conservation bunds according to the following guidelines. It is not necessary to stick on to contours but prepare them perpendicular to the slope at equal distances.
 
   
      
  • Maximum allowable length: 40 m 
  • Width: 100cm at the base and 60 cm at the top
  • Height: 40 cm
  • Distance between: 30 m

It is recommended to establish perennial crops on bunds with following management practices in order to utilize the area devoted for the bunds and to ensure the sustainability of the bunds.

      Type of plants - Sesbenia (Kathurumurunga) and Dwarf drumstick (Miti murunga)

      Spacing         - 2 m between plants as a single row along the bund

      Maintenance  - Watering is needed until the root system is developed (unless adequate   rainfall not received). Fertilizer application should
                             be done as per the DOA recommendation.

Land preparation

Land preparation should be done at the onset of rainfall for efficient utilization of water. At first, deep ploughing is required to a depth of 30-45 cm using a disk plough. It is preferable to use a sub soiler prior to ploughing on uplands. It will help to make both top and subsoils more loosen. Sub soiler is recommended to use once in 3-4 seasons. Weeds and crop debris can be incorporated into soil at ploughing. Ploughing should be always done perpendicular to the slope of the land on uplands. Weedy lands may require two ploughings to kill weeds. Then the field must be prepared to a fine tilth without large soil particles using a harrower or appropriate machineries such as rotovators and tine tillers. It is important to note that chilli plant does not tolerate water lodged conditions so that a drainage system must be prepared to remove excess water efficiently from the field.

Nursery preparation and management

The nursery should be maintained carefully to have healthy vigorous seedlings for transplanting. Nursery bed preparation may be started at late September to early October for Maha Season and early March for Yala season. Seed requirement of chilli per hectare of land is 1 kg for OPV and 500g for hybrids. In case of OPV thirty nursery beds of 3m x 90 cm would be required to plant one hectare. In case of hybrids fifteen nursery beds of 3m x 90 cm would be required to plant one hectare. A place with good sunlight, well drained and free of stones or gravel should be selected for the nursery. Drains of 30cm wide should be put around the beds. Height of the bed should be more than 15 cm. Add organic matter, preferably compost, 9-12 kg per each bed. Make the oil to a fine tilth. Sterilize beds by burning using paddy husk and paddy straws placed 4 layers alternatively. First a straw layer of about 3-5 cm and a paddy husk layer on it. Before placing straw/paddy husk layers, wet the soil adequately. Seeding should be done after burning without so much delays. In order to prevent virus infections via insect vectors at the initial growth stage of chilli, mix seeds with Thiamethoxam 70% WS at the rate of 3g in 5 ml of water for 1 kg of seeds and keep around 6 hours. In addition to that seeds can be mixed with Captan (4g/1kg) or Thiram (4.5g/kg) or Thiophanate methyl+Thiram (4g/kg) at the time of seeding. It is important to put seeds in a row. Spacing between two rows would be 10cm-15cm and within the row 0.5cm-1cm at a depth of 1cm. Then place a thin layer of straw mulch. Apply Thiram 7g or Thiophanatemethyl 3g or Thiophanate methyl+Thiram 5g dissolved in 5 liters per square meter on to straw. It is important daily watering until germination which would take about 7-10 days. After germination remove the straw mulch and put in between rows. Continue watering. Manual weeding should be done whenever necessary. A common disease in the nursery is Damping off. Poor germination, wet thin base and breaking of seedlings are identifiable symptoms. If such a condition was observed, remove the infected seedlings with soil and apply one of the following fungicides. 4g of 80% Captan, 7g of Thiram or Thiophanatemethyl 3g or Thiophanate methyl+Thiram 5g dissolved in 5 liter of water and apply to an area of 1m2. Seedlings of 30 days old (12-15 cm height/ with 5-6 leaves) and free from pests & diseases are suitable for field establishment. 7-10 days prior to establishment limit watering to nursery in order to harden the seedlings.

Field establishment

Field planting under irrigated conditions should be done in April or at least in early May for Yala season and Late October or mid-November for Maha season. For OPV varieties transplant the seedlings at the spacing of 60 X 45 cm with two plants per hill to have a density of 74074 plants/ha. For the local hybrid variety, same spacing can be maintained but keeping one plant per hill. Preferable time for transplanting is in the late afternoon if the environment is sunny. However, shading should be provided with a natural material, preferably a larger leaf for few days until the seedlings stably establish in the field. It is further important that you should avoid upward bending of the tap root when you place in the plating hole. It is good if you can provide water for several days with a watering can to increase the survival rate to have a good plant stand. Replanting vacant hills may be required in case the death of seedlings. Preferable direction for row arrangement is east-west for efficient utilization of sunlight.

Weed control

Weeding should be done preferably at 2, 4, 7 and 10 weeks after planting. However, depending on the severity of weed infestation, you may have to adjust these intervals. Soil should be loosened at each weeding to have a better root growth. Application of a mulch would be preferable to control weeds.

Nutrient management

Basal fertilizer application

Initial Phosphorus and potassium requirement of the crop is supplied by Triple super phosphate (TSP) and Muriate of potash (MOP) respectively. Application rates are 100kg/ha of TSP and 50kg/ha of MOP. Basal fertilizer should preferably be applied 2-3 days before sowing. However, P and K should be applied based on a soil test as they could be highly available in some areas in order to avoid increase the cost of production unnecessarily and environmental problems.

Application of Organic Manure

Incorporate organic manure to soil at land preparation to improve soil health. The most suitable organic manures are Green manure (in-situ or ex situ), cattle manure, poultry manure and quality compost It should be incorporated 10-14 days before planting at the rate of 10t/ha
The chemical nitrogen fertilizer requirement can be cut down by 25% when you incorporate Gliricidia leaves at the rate of 6 t/ha as a green manure. This amount can be applied 7-10 days before planting and 4 weeks after planting as equal splits.

Top dressing

Urea at top dressing is applied in 4 splits at 2, 4, 8, 12 weeks after planting. Under, irrigated condition, 475kg of urea/ha is applied. MOP at the rate of 50 kg/ha should be applied with the third top dressing. The soils should be sufficiently moist at fertilizing. Apply fertilizer in between the rows and incorporate into the soil. Only if the crop shows slow or stunted growth due to abiotic or biotic stresses you may apply a liquid foliar fertilizer containing micro nutrients.

Water management

Surface irrigation

Chilli plant prefer comparatively higher soil moisture levels with a maximum allowable depletion of about 40 % in clay soils. The chilli crop should be irrigated once in about 5 days during the first month of the growing period and the rest of the growing period will be fit into weekly irrigation in clay soils. Irrigation interval may be expanded depending upon the rains.

Bedded basin system or ridge and furrow system in the basin (“liyadda”) are more effective in increasing the irrigation efficiency as well as drainage efficiency in the field. Make sure to have both an irrigation channel and a drainage channel with each basin for the efficient supply and removal of water.

Mulching with paddy straw at the rate of 8-10 t/ ha will decrease water losses through evaporation and help in expanding the irrigation interval. Mulching will minimize soil erosion and weed emergence significantly. Further, the mulching materials with organic origin will help to enhance the soil organic matter content.

Micro irrigation

Sprinkler irrigation

Chilli plants can be transplanted in the leveled flat lands. Bed or ridge preparation is not compulsory. However, the field should be facilitated with a proper drainage system to remove excess water efficiently under rainy conditions.

'Technical' type sprinklers are preferred to 'Blade' type sprinklers with respect to the application efficiency. 'Technical' type sprinklers have a low discharge rate minimizing runoff losses and allowing the top soil to have more water through infiltration. Irrigation can be practiced daily (about 30 min.) or every other day (about 45 min. to 1 hr.) depending upon the existing evaporation rates (eg. longer application durations under higher the evaporation rates). Morning time operation is recommended to increase the application efficiency and to minimize white fly population in the crop. Organic matter application and mulching with paddy straw or other organic material will help to reduce the operating time and expand the irrigation interval.

Drip irrigation - Agronomic management package

Field layout

The schematic diagram of the field layout of the drip irrigation system for OPVs should be as follows.


Figure 1. Schematic diagram of the field layout of the drip irrigation systems for OPVs

For the hybrids:

The spacing between two laterals is set as 60 cm and the planting hill is established at the dripping point. The drippers are located with a spacing of 60 cm in the lateral.

Transplanting

OPVs: Two seedlings should be transplanted in a planting hill keeping the spacing of 45 cm between two planting hills along both sides of a lateral. The spacing between the lateral and the planting hill should be 20 cm.
Hybrids: A seedling should be transplanted in a planting hill at the dripping point along the lateral keeping the spacing of 60 cm between two planting hills along a lateral.

Organic matter amendment

Organic matter (cattle manure/ compost) should be applied into each planting hill at the rate of about 1 kg/ m2 (10 t/ ha) up to 1.5 kg/ m2 (15 t/ ha) depending on the availability and mix with the soil two days prior to transplanting.

Mulching

Straw mulch should be applied at the rate of 500 g/ m2 (5 t/ ha) after the transplanting.

Irrigation

Interval of irrigation

The crop should be irrigated at every other day. If adequate rainfall received, the interval should be widened accordingly.

Irrigation amount

The average time of irrigation per irrigation event is about 30 minutes to 45 minutes in the months of April and May whereas, it is about 45 minutes to 60 minutes in the months of June to August under the average environmental conditions exist in the Dry Zone with a discharge rate of the emitters at 2L/ hr.

Fertilizer application (Fertigation)

It was found that the 75 % of the fertilizer quantities of Urea, TSP (Triple Super Phosphate) and MOP (Muriate of Potash) are capable of giving similar green chilli yields compared to that with the fertilizer recommendation of the Department of Agriculture for chilli under drip irrigation in RBE soil (based on the results of the experiments conducted at the FCRDI, Mahailluppallama and GLORDC, Angunakolapelessa). Therefore, the following quantities of fertilizer can be applied under drip irrigation for chilli in RBE soil.
 
Table 1. Inorganic fertilizer quantities to be applied for chilli with the drip irrigation system

Application

Amount (kg/ ha)

Urea

TSP

MOP

Basal Dressing

-

75

38

First Top Dressing (2 WATP)

75

-

-

Second Top Dressing (4 WATP)

95

-

-

Third Top Dressing (8 WATP)

95

-

38

Fourth Top Dressing (12 WATP)

95

-

-

Total

360

75

76

WATP – Weeks after transplanting

The required amount of fertilizer should be calculated for the area planted with respect to each application based on the quantities given in the above table.

Application of Urea and MOP

The calculated doses of Urea and MOP with respect to each application should be divided into 10 and apply with each irrigation event. The fertilizer dose should be dissolved in a bucket of water and put into the fertigation tank after filtering using a cloth to avoid entering of larger particles into the irrigation system that could block the emitters.

Application of TSP

Since TSP is not soluble in water, it should be applied manually with the organic matter at two days prior to transplanting.

Remarks

Application of additional fertilizer doses

If the chilli crop remains productive even after 4 months, then an additional dose of fertilizer (Urea) can be applied with split applications with each irrigation event as described in earlier chapters until the end of harvesting.

Well water quality

It is advisable to select a well with class I water (having the electrical conductivity values of < 0.7 dS/ m) or at least class II water (having the electrical conductivity values of 0.7 dS/ m to 2 dS/ m) for irrigation through drip systems to avoid the blocking of emitters with salts.
The water quality classification is based on the FAO standards (FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper - 48).

Use of online emitters

The online emitters can be easily cleaned and replaceable whereas, these properties are not found in inline emitters. Therefore, use of the drip irrigation systems with online emitters rather than inline emitters will help in overcoming the problem with blocking of emitters with salts.

Maintenance of the well and the irrigation system

It is always advisable to maintain the well in good condition with regular cleaning to avoid the blocking of the irrigation system with soil particles, organic debris and algae. Cleaning of the filter in regular basis will always help in proper functioning of the irrigation system.

Pest and disease control

Please refer ‘The hand book for diagnosing pests, diseases and nutrient deficiencies” published by Field Crops Research and Development Institute, Mahailluppallama for a detailed description on packages of practices of pest and disease control. However, a brief description on the management of chilli leaf curl complex through an IPM approach is given below.

1. Selection of quality seeds from a reliable source

2. Cultivation of resistant or tolerant varieties

  • Galkiriyagama Selection, MICH3, MICH HY 1, Waraniya (moderately resistant)

3. Use of appropriate nursery management techniques

  • Selection of a suitable nursery site, Proper sterilization of nursery beds

4. Use of insecticide seed treatment before sowing seeds in the nursery

  • Thiamethoxam 70%WS 3 g/5 ml water/ 1 kg seeds for 6 hours

5. Correct time of planting

  • Planting chilli crop as early as possible (April/Early May) is a must. The objective of this strategy is to obtain two or three plucks before thrips population reaches its peak level. In the dry zone, peak population of thrips occurs from July to August which is generally associated with high temperature and low relative humidity.

6. Use of barrier crops wherever possible

  • Three-four rows of maize, fingermillet or sorghum can be planted around the field 2 weeks before establishment of chilli crop.

7. Use of recommended fertilizers at correct rate and correct time of application

  • Use of organic manure before planting.
  • High amount of nitrogen fertilizer (urea) may increase the susceptibility to pests. Therefore, excessive use of nitrogen fertilizer must be avoided
  • Foliar liquid fertilizer can be used when chilli plants show deficiency systems

8. Use of yellow sticky traps

9. Use of mulches (Straw, Glyricidia, reflective polythene)

10. Spraying of water under high pressure

11. Use of sprinkler/drip irrigation methods

12. Keep the selected field and surroundings free from residues of previous chilli crop

13. Destruction of alternate host plants

14. Use of bio pesticides such as neem based pesticides, neem seed kernel extracts

15. Identification of pests according to the symptoms and use of recommended of insecticides

Harvesting and processing

Harvesting can be started at 75-80 days after planting. If you harvest as green chilli, the pods must be fully matured. Pods should be at least 80% red for dry chilli. If you maintain a red chilli cultivation it is preferable to get the first pick as green chilli and subsequently start harvesting as red chilli. The harvested ripen chilli should be heaped for about 2-3 days in shade until they become fully ripened. Remove immature, green or infested pods and then start drying in the open sunlight for about 5 days. Place the pods on a material like mats, gunny bags or tarpaulin for drying which increases the appearance of pods. After drying, store in sacks. if dried properly pods can be stored for about 4-6 months. However, it would be required to dry again time to time if you store such a long time.