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Global demand: Price of Naga chilli, Rs. 20 to Rs.300 per Kg
Guwahati, Dec 11 (AGENCIES):
Published on 12 Dec. 2010 12:50 AM IST
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The price of Naga King Chilli or Bhoot jolokia (known in Assam), the hottest chilli in the world, has become too fiery.
Ananta Saikia, a horticulturist attached to the National Horticultural Mission for Northeast and Himalayan States, has predicted that the market for the chilli has hotted up so much in the state that the entire industry faces the danger of crashing like the sensex any day.
“The price of bhoot jolokia (Capsicum chinense), which was only Rs.20 per kg a few years ago when acquired from growers, has gone up to nearly Rs.300 a kg.
If prices continue to rise, it will not augur well for the processing industry, which is feeling the pinch of decreasing profits and may not be able to market the product at this rate of increase. Moreover, Bangladesh and a few other states have entered this field and may soon be able to take over the market if they keep their prices low,” Saikia said. Naga Chilli is grown naturally in Nagaland, Assam and Manipur and in some parts of Bangladesh.
Saikia said farmers who earlier cultivated paddy here had found a goldmine in Naga Chilli. Tea gardens, especially big company gardens with fallow land, too began cultivating this variety of chilli, which was certified by the Guinness World Records in 2007 as the hottest chilli in the world. The prices soared after this declaration as markets expanded abroad.
The commercial value of the chilli also went up with the DRDO deciding to use it as an ingredient for grenades to be used in mob control.
The National Horticulture Mission for Northeast and Himalayan States has fixed a target of bringing 1,000 hectares of land under chilli cultivation in Assam. The project, which began last year, is still on. “Once largescale production begins, the prices might automatically fall but in the eventuality that the trend remains the same as now, with farmers taking their asking price, it will not be viable for the processing units,” the horticulturist said.
“While farmers benefiting so much is a boon to the state, the government should keep an eye open that processing units also get a viable price,” he added.
The owner of a processing unit at Hatigarh in the district that exports bhoot jolokia paste and powder - used as seasoning in sauces and other condiments - to 20 countries abroad said profits had fallen greatly in the last year or two with the surge in prices.

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