The chilli pepper (also chile pepper, chilli pepper, or simply chilli) is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. Chilli peppers which originated in Mexico, are widely used in many cuisines to add spiciness to dishes. The substances that give chili peppers their intensity when ingested or applied topically are capsaicin and related compounds known as capsaicinoids. (Wikipedia)
Capsicum frutenscens- Hot
Capsicum annum- Sweet
(Hot)- Legon 18, Long Red Cayenne, Bird’s eye, M12, Scotch Bonnet, Kpakpo Shito, Jalapeno and Fresno. (Sweet)- King Arthur, Florida Giant, California Wonder, Red Knight, Early Carl Wonder, Chinese Wonder, Yolo Giant.
Source of seeds
Use certified seeds from reputable seed companies.
Climate and soil requirements
Chilli peppers require sunny, semi-tropic or tropical conditions and an annual rainfall of between 600mm and 1,250mm. The ideal temperature for good growth is 18-32oC. Low humidity will result in bad fruit set due to the dropping of flower buds.
Read also: Complete Guide to Tomato Production in Ghana
Chilli peppers grow on a wide range of soils but thrive best in sandy loams with lots of organic matter. Select well-drained land with a gentle slope and soils with a pH of 5.0-7.0 (slightly acidic to neutral). In chilli production, avoid or sterilise soils previously planted with tomato, garden eggs, okra or papaya within the last four years.
The land should be cleared of trees, grasses and root stumps. A well-decomposed manure or compost at 3-10kg/m2 should be applied in 4-6 weeks before planting. In chilli production, seed rate About 150g seed is required for 1ha at a density of 30,000 plants/ha.
Test seeds before nursing. Seeds are most suitable if test results show 95-100% germination.
Sow one seed per cell (in seed trays) or broadcast the seeds lightly in a seedbed and cover with 1 cm layer of soil. On the seedbed, cover with non-seeded dry grass or palm fronds until seeds emerge and cover the bed with an insect-proof net or sow them inside a greenhouse or screen house. Upon emergence, water the seedlings thoroughly every morning or as needed, using a fine sprinkler. Avoid overwatering to prevent damping-off. Should this occur, drench with an EPA approved fungicide.
Read more on: Vegetable Seedling Nursery Establishment and Management
Transplant seedlings at 5-true leaf stage in the cool of the day or late afternoon. The soil should be moist and of a fine tilth. Spacing For Some Hot Pepper Varieties. Variety Spacing(between plants and between rows) Cayenne(Legon 18) 60x60cm (2×2 feet) Jalapeno 60x30cm (2×1 feet) Fresno 70x50cm (2.5×1.5 feet) Scotch Bonnet 70x50cm (2.5×1.5 feet) Bird’s eye 60x30cm (2×1 feet) Sweet Pepper 60x60cm (2×2 feet)
Test soil to determine fertility level and adjust rates to meet the crop’s nutrient requirements.
Read also: Why is Organic Fertilizer better?
- At transplanting water seedlings with a starter solution of 5g/L NPK 15-15-15 or 3g/L di-Ammonium Phosphate or any commercial fertiliser rich in Phosphorus and Nitrogen.
- 2 weeks after transplanting (WAT), apply a mixture of 6g (2 crown caps) NPK 15-15-15 and 3g (1 crown cap) Ammonium Sulphate/plant.
- At flowering side dress 3g Potassium Nitrate, repeat at 2 weeks intervals. Apply high Calcium foliar fertilisers containing Boron every 2 weeks following manufacturer’s instructions.
- After each harvest, apply 3g KNO3/ Ammonium Sulphate and irrigate to prolong harvesting period.
Practice no-till so that the vegetation residue will serve as mulch to conserve moisture, soil, reduce weed competition, erosion and soil compaction. You can also use rice straw (5t/ha) or other organic material, polyethene sheet, or a combination of materials. Where plastic mulch is used, lay before transplanting.
Provide supplementary irrigation in chilli to maintain a good moisture level throughout the growth period especially during flowering and fruit development.
Keep the field free of weeds with inter-row cultivators, by applying approved pre and post-emergent herbicides, hoeing or hand picking. Avoid damaging plant roots.
Chilli plants may be staked to prevent lodging, particularly when they have a heavy load of fruits. This is very important in chilli production to avoid losses in fruits.
Pest and Disease Control
Major pests are aphids, termites, broad mites and thrips.
Anthracnose: May occur in the field or develop as a postharvest decay of pepper fruits. To control anthracnose, use pathogen-free seed and rotate crops. Fungicides can reduce losses.
Bacterial spot: Small water-soaked spots on leaves become necrotic with yellow borders. To control, rotate pepper with other non-susceptible crops. Sprays of copper-based fungicides will reduce damage.
Bacterial wilt: The initial symptom is wilting of lower leaves followed by a sudden and permanent wilt of the entire plant without yellowing. To control, use pathogen-free seedbeds to produce disease-free transplants. Fumigate seedbeds and sterilise the planting medium for container-grown plants. Use raised beds to facilitate drainage.
Phytophthora blight: The most common symptom is a stem or collar rot followed by sudden wilting without foliar yellowing. This is controlled through the use of resistant cultivars, raised beds, crop rotation and fungicides. Root-knot nematode: Infected plants become stunted and yellowish. Severely affected chilli plants may wilt. To control, use crop rotation; flooding fields greatly reduce nematode populations. Soil fumigants or nematicides may be used. Seeding during the fallow season with Crotalaria or African Marigold and ploughing in will reduce nematode population.
Read also: Complete Guide to Okra Production in Ghana
Chilli peppers are ready for harvesting 6-8 WAT. Harvest red ripe or green depending on market demand. To harvest, snap the fruit stalk from the stems by hand.
Yields of chilli vary depending on cultivar and management practices. 10-22 MT/ha are achievable.
Operational Budget/Ha/Yr Activity/Input Cost(Ghc)
Read also: Importance of Farm Records Keeping
Average yield/ha = 10 tons =10,000 kg
Percentage loss of 5% Available yield = 95/100×10,000kg = 9,500kg
Packaging in 6 kg box = 9500/6 =1584 boxes
Farm gate price/6 kg box = Ghc10.00
Income = 1584×10 = Ghc15,840.00
Net income = Ghc15,840-Ghc6,868 = Ghc 8,972.00
Note: This budget does not include fixed cost and overheads.
©2013 Source: http://mofa.gov.gh