Soaked in summer sun, 300 tons of chilli glows softly in the pilot chilli field in Lahore. “The 300 tons of chilli we picked will be dried. And exported to China in August,”. Noted China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) Pakistan Subsidiary General Manager Wu Guang. Aadding that it is the first time Pakistani chilli will enter the Chinese market since 2020.
What happened to Pakistani chilli?
Pakistan has ideal conditions for chilli/pepper cultivation. According to Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). Pakistan is amongst the top 10 chilli producing nations which enjoy a combination of warm. Humid yet dry weather and a well-drained sandy loam with rich organic content.
Sindh is major producer of #Chilli followed by Punjab, Balochistan. Major constraints faced by chilli farmers here are lack of modern irrigation system, imbalance in use of fertiliser and pesticide, and lack of training. @AmbNong #CPECMakingProgress #CPEChttps://t.co/0GuvJUHifN— Sikandar Ali Hullio (@HullioSikandar) July 18, 2021
However, Pakistan’s chilli production has been lower than the world average for the same period since 2015. From FY14-15 to FY17-18, the average annual production of chilli in Pakistan was around 143,428 tons. But it plummeted to 126,943 tons in FY18-19. Accounting for 85.7% its peak in FY17-18 of 148,114 tons.
For example, Sindh province is the major producer of chilli followed by Punjab and Balochistan. The major constraints in production faced by chilli farmers here are lack of modern irrigation system. Imbalance in use of fertiliser and pesticide, and lack of training.
“In Pakistan old methods of 1970s or 1980s are adopted by farmers. Now Pakistan has to adopt modern technology to increase its production,”. Recommended Special Investigative Correspondent in Pakistan Zahid Gishkori.
What is worse is growers are troubled by some marketing issues. Including unreasonable commission agent charges, improper weighing, price fluctuations. And lack of proper storage facilities. Pepper growers are unable to make a proper profit from chilli due to marketing channel barriers.
Pakistani chilli to spice up China | The Express Tribune https://t.co/Cj79yXPUrC— Dr. Farhan Saboor (@treefreeofbirds) July 18, 2021
Talking to China Economic Net, Fatima AG Solutions Limited Director Marketing. Khurram Javed Maqbool pointed out that at present the whole ecosystem in Pakistan is inefficient. “From harvesting to sewing and storing of the crop and then selling it. And then farmers getting financing and then the returns for their produce. All these operations require improvement.”