At present, India is the largest producer of chillies in the world. The crop is grown practically all over India, occupying 0.96 million-hectare area with production of 8.5 lakh tonnes. Bulk of chillies is consumed in India. Only 2 to 3% is exported to various countries worth 5 to 10 crore rupees. At present, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal account for 85.8 per cent of the total area and 89.3 per cent of the total output of chillies in the country. Andhra Pradesh accounts for 40 per cent of the total production of chillies in India. It is followed by Karnataka with 13-14 per cent, Maharashtra and Orissa with 8-9 per cent each and Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal with 5-6 per cent each. In Punjab, chillies are cultivated mainly in Amristar, Nabha and Patiala. Chilli has become an important summer vegetable crop. In Punjab, chilli crop occupies an area of 9608 hectares with production of 0.154 lakh tonnes.
Various improved varieties and hybrids have significantly increased the productivity. Improved hybrid varieties grown in Punjab are CH-1, CH-3, Punjab Surkh, Punjab Guchhedar, Punjab Lal.
Chilli in India has become an essential article of diet of the rich and poor. Its fruits are used for its pungency and spicy taste in diet. The pungency is due to presence of a crystalline volatile alkaloid called 'capsaicin.
Chillies are processed into different forms such as chilli powder, paste and oleoresin. Dry chillies powdered are ground into paste and green chillies are used for curry samber, rasam and other savory dishes. It is widely used in manufacture of curry powder in preparation of sauces, soup, salad, ketchup, etc. It is a rich source of Vit-A and Vit-C.
In India the chillies are dried in sun. After drying, destalking of chillies is done manually. Destalking refers to the removal of stalks from dried chilli product. It is a very labour-intensive...