Cayenne Peppers: How to Start a Chilli Farm

Chilli is a spicy fruit used in many culinary dishes. The crop has good economic value and generates billion dollars worldwide. They are used as food condiments, traditional medicine, spices and sauces.
The fruit is fried, picked, boiled, steamed, dried or eaten raw. An investor interested in the industry needs financing to procure land and build infrastructure. Other requirements are planting equipment, machinery, purchase of seeds and labor.
Types of Chilli
Types of chilli are Peppadew, Poblano, Guajillo, Jalapeno and Chipotle. Others are Serrano, Red cayenne pepper, Piri Piri and Bird’s eye. We have the Habanero, Ghost pepper and Carolina reaper.
         Peppadew
         Poblano
         Guajillo
         Jalapeno
         Chipotle
         Serrano
         Red cayenne pepper
         Piri Piri
         Bird’s eye
         Habanero
         Ghost pepper
         Carolina reaper
Cayenne Peppers
Uses of Chilli
Practical uses of chilli are for food, fight indigestion, tropical anesthetic. It is an ingredient in hot sauce, non-lethal pepper spray and weight loss remedy. It is used as a pesticide, animal deterrent, found in decorative art.
         Used in food
         Fight indigestion
         Tropical anesthetic
         Ingredient in hot sauce
         Non-lethal pepper spray
         Weight loss remedy
         Used as a pesticide
         Animal deterrent
         Found in decorative art
Soil to Grow Chilli
Chilli plant is hardy and can grow in different type soil. However the soil should be able to retain moisture is well-drained and able to support crop farming. Common soil compositions are clay loam mix, sandy loam and coarse soil.
         clay loam mix
         sandy loam
         coarse soil
Climate to Grow Chilli
The plant grows well in sub-tropical and tropical regions. Preferred temperature for optimum growth is 21 to 25C, warm to humid atmosphere. Waterlogged soil, excessive rain or dry conditions will kill the plant. The plant is not tolerant to frost or frozen conditions.
Land
It is important maintaining a buffer zone in the chilli farm. Use compost and the ideal soil is loam and clay loam. Lease or purchase an acre of land for commercial farming. Commercial production are subjected to zoning.
Planting Material
Source the seeds from highly reputable nurseries. Make sure the seeds are pest and disease resistance. Purchase high yielding verity from organic farmers and avoid using seeds procured from grocery stores.
Seeds are generally treated to prevent seedling rot however fungicide or chemical applications are not required.
Planting
You can sow the seeds directly under rain-fed conditions. To ensure better quality and high survival rate replanting is necessary.
The seedling are grown in nursery beds and transplanted once roots are properly established.
Prepare the nursery bed by raising the ground level and prepare a mix of loam and compost. In ideal conditions the seeds germinate in one week and transplanting is done 40 days.
Spacing
The seedlings are transplanted from the nursery in 40 days. Chilli can grow in shallow trenches, ridges, mounds or flat lands.
The spacing depends on the number of plants per acre. Use a combination of 30cm x 30cm, 45cm x 45cm or 60cm x 60 cm. Water regularly to maintain soil moisture and avoid contaminated water.
Weeding
Broadcast method of sowing requires thinning every one month. Weed appropriately and maintain a plant population of 40 plants/m2. The type of soil determines the weeding requirements.
Remove competing weeds by hand, hoeing or mechanized. Heavy branching is necessary to prevent plant rot. While flowering occurs 85 days and cross pollination is essential for fruit development.
Chilli Pests and Diseases
The chilli crop is susceptible to many pests and disease. Major pests are spiraling whitefly, silver leaf whitefly, fruit fly and melon thrips. Diseases are anthracnose, bacteria spot and spotted wilt. Others are nematodes, yellow leaf, stem rot and powdery mildew.
Chilli Crop Pest and Diseases
         Spiraling whitefly
         Silver leaf whitefly
         Fruit fly
         Melon thrips
         Anthracnose
         Bacteria spot
         Spotted wilt
         Nematodes
         Yellow leaf
         Stem rot
         Powdery mildew
Harvesting the Chilli
The type of chilli determines the maturity period. There are also different variables like climatic conditions, soil management and watering. The fruit generally matures in 6 months. Harvesting depends on the use of the chilli.
They can be harvested green or red depending on the market. The fruit is highly perishable and require refrigeration to maintain longer shelf life.  The yield varies from 400 kg to 1000kg per acre.

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