Is a spice war in the offing between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh? | Latest News India

Bhubaneswar/Hyderabad: Relations between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, which are already at loggerheads over the fate of villages on the border, have come to a standstill in the chilli war. Over the years, Andhra Pradesh has cornered most of India’s chilli exports, riding on the back of the famous Guntur chilli. Now apart, the Spices Board of India has found that Kuchinda chillies grown in Odisha may be more spicy.

Kuchinda chillies are grown in Sambalpur district of western Odisha, while the popular Sannam chillies are grown in Guntur region of Andhra Pradesh.

In the test report of a sample of Kuchinda chilli sent by the Controlled Marketing Committee of Kuchinda, one of the 67 such committees in Odisha, functioning under the Odisha State Agricultural Produce Marketing Board, the spice laboratory found its capsaicin content to be 0.26%. 41,000 Scoville heat unit.

In comparison, the Spice Board’s data revealed that the popular Sanam chilli grown in Guntur region has 0.226% capsaicin (35,000 – 40,000 Scoville heat unit) and Badagi chilli grown in Guntur, Kurnool and Prakasam districts contains capsaicin. Percent 0.226% (15,000 – 30,000 Scoville Heat Unit).

“The capsaicin value determines how hot a chili is,” said CCM Srilatha, a scientist at the Spices Board’s Quality Evaluation Laboratory in Kochi, who declined to comment on which chili is “best”.

India is the world’s largest chilli producer, consumer and exporter, with Andhra Pradesh topping the list of chilli producing states, accounting for over 37% of the total harvest. According to the National Board of Horticulture data, Andhra Pradesh will produce seven lakh tonnes of chilli in 2021-22, followed by Telangana with 4.33 lakh tonnes. Odisha produced only 69,000 tonnes during the same period.

Srimant Hota, deputy director of Odisha Rural Marketing Society (ORMAS) under the Rajya Panchayat Raj Department, which sells Kuchinda chillies, said that the lab report of the Sambar Board has proved that Odisha chillies are more spicier than Guntur chillies.

A lab report from the Sambar Board has proved that Odisha chillies are more pungent than Guntur chillies (pictured).
A lab report from the Sambar Board has proved that Odisha chillies are more pungent than Guntur chillies (pictured).

“Kuchinda chilli is very hot and local farmers grow it as a commercial crop. Lab testing has proven that the pungency and other qualities of crushed chilies are superior to other chilies. Popularly known as ‘Bamra Chilli’, it has acquired a distinct identity as Guntur Chilli as traders from across the country came to Sambalpur to procure the chilli, but lacked promotion and marketing facilities,” said Hota.

Chilli cultivation became popular in Kuchinda in 1901 when the area was part of the Bamanda (Deogarh) kingdom. Erratic rainfall in the region led King Basudev Sudhal Dev of Bamanda to replace paddy cultivation with chilli cultivation to alleviate the agricultural crisis. This later proved to be a long-term solution.

Narasimha Rao Tanneru of ACE Exports in Guntur, a major exporter of Guntur chillies, however, says the chilli’s pungency depends on the variety. “There are different varieties like Guntur Sannam (S4), Teja (S17), Baidagi, DD Chilli, etc. The Sambar board analyzes how much agility each breed has and exports depend on the demand for the particular breed,” he said.

According to this, a website maintained by Guntur Chilli Market Yard, Guntur Sannam Chilli (S4 variety) is the hottest variety of chilli with national and international acclaim. It belongs to the variety “Capsicum anum var., Langham” with long fruits (5 to 15 cm long) and 0.5 to 1.5 cm in diameter. “It has a thick skin and is hot and pungent with an average of 35,000 to 40,000 SHU. The capsaicin content is about 0.226%. This chili is rich in vitamin C (185 mg/100 g) and protein (11.98 g/100 g),” the website said. .

While the final word on which chilli is best is up in the air, agriculture officials in Odisha said the Spice Board Lab’s report would motivate more farmers to grow the crop. “Around 12,000 farmers in Kuchinda are engaged in chilli cultivation. It is grown in 5,000 hectares in both Rabi and Kharif seasons. But green chillies are sold. 3,000 per quintal, the dry red variety costs approx 15,000 per quintal. So far 10 producer groups have been formed for the management of chill units,” said Ranjan Kumar Das, deputy director of horticulture, Sambalpur.

Das said that SC/ST Development Department’s Tribal Development Cooperative Corporation Limited has been actively selling crushed chilli through its Adisha retail outlets for the past one year. He said that in the coming days, the amount of chilli purchased from the farmers will be increased, and we have planned to bring chilli to the market at the national level.

There is a problem though. ORMAS officials, however, are a little skeptical about the marketability of Kuchinda chillies as it retains their dark red color unlike Samman or Badagi chillies, which acquire a yellowish tinge to the ground. “There may be some problems with the fertilizer being used by the farmers or the method of drying the chillies. “We will try to resolve this,” he said.

Getting a Geographical Indication (GI) tag for chillies is a big problem, as there is no documented history of chillies – this is essential. “The GI tag will help all farmers of Kuchinda and motivate more farmers to grow this chilli, but lack of documented history is still a major hurdle,” said Hota.

Chili powder.
Grind the chili powder.

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