National Chilli Production Programme
Chilli, scientifically known as Capcicum annum which belongs to the Solanaceae family is an essential condiment to Sri Lankans.
At present, Sri Lanka requires 60,000 metric tons of dried chilli and 63,000 metric tons of green chilli. The government had to spend foreign exchange amounted to Rs. 10,543 million and Rs. 13477 million repectively to import 49928 metric tonnes of dried chilli in 2015 and 51018 metric tonnes of dried chilli in 2016(Sri lanka Custom - Statistical report)
Sri Lanka was self-sufficient in chilli during the decades of 70’s and 80’s. However, with the infection of leaf curl complex to the chilli crop, the yields tend to drop and the production cost increased. As a result, farmers withdrew themselves from the chilli cultivation.
According to statistical data, in 1977 chilli was cultivated in an extent of 43,854 ha and about 33,000 metric tons of dried chilli was produced. In 1986, chilli was cultivated in 37,000 ha and 44,400 metric tons of dried chili was produced. At present, chill is cultivated in an extent of about 15,000 ha annually.
Even if the average green chilli yield recorded is 5.2 mt/ ha at present, research data has shown that 12-15 mt/ ha of green chilli yield can be obtained. It has been proved of that this type of yield can be obtained through cultivating by adopting propoer agronomic practice.
The government has been facilitated farmer once again to revive the chilli cultivation under the National food production programme 2016 - 2018. The objective of this programme is to reduce the import of dry chilli and the country to become self-sufficient in green chili.
Seed and planting material Development Centre of DOA produces 7000 - 9000 Kg of local chilli seeds annually. These seed are produced by farmers selected from seed and planting material Development Centre. Those have been established as chilli seed villages. Among those villages, Kahalla chilli village make more contribution to the chilli seed production. Field Crop Development Institute Maha Illuppallama, has introduced a high yielding chilli variety MICH3 recently apart from chilli varieties such as MI 1, MI 2, KA 2 and Galkiriyagama introduced by the Department of Agriculture. Further more, the Institute has introduced a high yielding chilli verity MICH 1 first time. Research has been proved that approximately 30 mt/ ha of chili yield can be obtained from this local hybrid chilli variety. This chilli variety itself has recorded a chilli production of 60 mt/ ha from the Northern Region. This is favorable prospect to the country and will enable to anticipate increase in the chilli production of the country.
Under the chilli production programme it is expected to get high yield from the chilli cultivation, and to cultivate chilli in off-season and to provide required inputs to encourage farmers for the purpose.
In 2015, 51 Agro-wells were provided and 04 field demostrations for enhancing yield were done and a number of 1527 farmer & officers were trained. Moreever, 3124 nursery trays were provided. Similary, an amount of Rs.6455 million was spent under the project in 2015.
In 2016, a number of 622 agro-wells, 1008 water pumps, 495 micro irrigation kits(1/4, ½ acre), 34 power sprayers, 15 Chilli Grinding machines, 51 rain shelters, 12,500 nursery trays, 10 chilli village, 85 tarpaulin covers were provided and media programmes were held. A sum of Rs.116.90 million was expended under the Ministry of Agriculture for the purpose.
With a view to steering new farmers towards chilli cultivation, provision has been received to pay Rs 10,000 per hectare under 50% government contribution for ploughing the lands of farmers, provide them with with chilli seed at 50% concessonary rate, conduct demonstrations to control chilli leaf curl complex and make aware officers and farmers. In addition 583,000 polythene bag under 50% farmer contribution is expected to be supplied to home gardens with a view to disseminating chilli cultivation.
It has been able to produce 750g of green chilli from one season (05months) from one cultivation bag. Accordingly, 1 ½ - 02 Kg of green chilli is expected to be obtained for a year (for two seasons) from one cultivation bag.
We believe that the yield of chilli cultivation can be increased by following the instructions given by the Department of Agriculture.