Chilli growers in Sindh have started supplying their produce to local markets but are not comfortable with the prices offered by commission agents and traders.
Chillies from Bhan Syedabad, Johi, Khairpur Nathan Shah and Dadu areas are being supplied to various vegetables markets through traders and commission agents. While Wahi Pandhi, Khanpur, Tando Rahim and Phulji of Dadu district, Larkana, Shikarpur, Ghotki, and Khiarpur Mirs will start supplying their produce to markets at the end of December.
Commission agents of Lahore, Sadiqabad, Faisalabad, and Peshawar have set up their camps in the area and are sending chilli to their respective areas after buying it from commission agents in Dadu market.
Meanwhile, growers have complained about spread of diseases in chilli fields reducing its output as well as rates causing losses to growers.
A chilli grower of Deh Saranjhri of taluka Johi, Mansoor Ali, said he had cultivated chilli on 10 acres but the crop on eight acres was damaged in recent rains. He could protect crop on only his two acres.
Despite use of pesticides, diseases locally called Mohalla and Randhar had spread in chilli fields damaging the plants and reducing crop production. In some cases the crop had been totally destroyed.Another grower of Johi taluka, Inyat Hussain Panhwar, complained that commission agents had reduced chilli rate at vegetable market in Dadu. He said before Eidul Azha they were buying a bag of 40kg chilli for Rs1,500-1,600. But now they had reduced the rate to Rs850-1,250 per bag. The growers were facing losses because of almost 80 per cent damage to their crop by rains. The present reduction in its price by local commission agents, has deprived them of the little income they expected. They are afraid they would not be able to meet even the expenses incurred on pesticides and fertiliser used in growing the crop.A grower Sahib Khan from Khairpur Nathan Shah regretted that officials of agriculture department did not help them control the spread of insects and pests in their chilli fields. Mian Mohammad, a grower from Dadu, complained that pesticides available in the market were fake and not helpful in controlling the diseases. He said that no government official was trying to stop the sale of sub-standard and fake pesticides.
Agriculture officer of Dadu Ali Nawaz Kalhoro said officials of agriculture department were giving advice to chilli growers how to control the diseases and protect their crop. He said some areas of Dadu had started supplying chilly whereas in areas where chilly crop was affected, the crop had been re-cultivated and would be ready by next month.
Similarly in Wahi Pandhi area, Zulifiqar Jamali had cultivated chilli on 30 acres which was totally destroyed in rains. He had sown the crop again on 15 acres and was expecting to supply chilli to the market from his fields by end of December. Last year, this area had supplied 10 trucks of chilli daily to Dadu vegetable market.
A commission agent at Dadu vegetable market, Moula Bux Zour, said before this Eid there was shortage of chilly and rate of a bag of 40kg had shot up between Rs1,500 and Rs1,600. After the Eid supply of chilli from Dadu and Nawab Shah increased, resulting in drop of its price between Rs800 and Rs1,000 per bag of 50kg.
He said Dadu market was supplying 20 trucks with 160 bags containing 50kg of chilli each to Lahore, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Rahimyar Khan and Sadiqabad. From other areas of Sindh supply would start in December. Few areas of Hyderabad and Matyari districts had also started supplying chilly to markets but major areas would start supply from next month.
A commission agent of Faisalabad said he was purchasing around 1,000 bags of 40kg each at the rate of Rs800-1200 daily from commission agents of Dadu, Bhan Saeedabad, Khairpur Nathan Shah and Johi and supplying them to Faisalabad vegetable market.
Earlier green chilly crop had suffered damages in parts of Thar districts. Rainwater was still standing in vast track of land in three union councils of Bashan, Shir Khan and Tali. Water was also standing in half of the union council of Nabi Sar near Kunri, areas growing good quality cillies.
Few areas of Mirpurkhas were supplying green chilli to local markets but it was not enough to meet the local demand. The crop will be sown in February and March in the area and according to expectations around 0.6 million bags of chilli would be supplied to the Kunri market. It is also hoped that rainwater would recede from the inundated areas by February 2012 and growers would be able to cultivate chilli properly and harvest good crop.