By Manoj Bhattarai, Okhaldhunga, Jan. 24: The chiltepin pepper, known as Akbare Khursani in Nepali, has recently become a major source of income for the farmers in Okhaldhunga district.
The chilly which is round in shape has become a choice of people inside as well as outside of the country and ample benefit can be had within a short span of time from its farming.
Lately, farmers have started to cultivate this Akbare Khursani commercially as it has started to yield good income.
It has become the topmost production choice for farmers because of the ease in production as well as in labor.
Tej Narayan Shrestha, a local farmer from Siddhicharan Municipality, said that this year Chillies got destroyed by disease, but last year he had got a good income.
He said that because of rising demand for Akabare from various districts including the federal capital, he had planted Akbare pepper by replacing the plantation of other crops.
"Akbare Chilly yields a good income if we work diligently for better production".
However, farmers in some parts of the district have been worried as chilly plants have been inflicted with the disease in these days.
According to Birendra Tamang, an Agricultural Technician, there have been fewer earnings this year in comparison to previous years.
Farmers viewed that loss of production may have been caused by incessant rainfall and fog.
Farmers said that if proper treatment was given to the infected chilly in right time then a handsome income could be earned from Akbare chilly production.
There is demand for Akbare Chilly in winter season rather than in summer. Mainly, during two months from December to January, there is a demand for Akbare. So one has to target to sell the most during these two months for a good income, said farmer Shrestha.
Akbare Chilly is sold out at the rate of 480 to500 rupees per kg in the local fair held in the district headquarters.
Farmer Netra Bogati of Singh Devi Kuwapani in Likhu Village Municipality-2 said that he sold Akbare at the rate of Rs 600 per kg this year.
Bogati, who started commercial farming of Akbare this year, said that there is a high demand for Akbare in the local market in the surrounding districts and even in Kathmandu.
According to an agricultural technician, Akbare here is currently suffering from bacterial bile, dapping off and motel virus.
Bactrian Bile is more dangerous than other diseases, as a result, Akbare chillies have been drying and blackening in stalks, as a major symptom.
In order to save Akbare Chilly from this, the soil has to be tested, organic farming has to be done and different cultivation has to be done in the same place annually.
According to Tika Bania, Horticulture Development Officer at Agriculture Knowledge Center, Okhaldhunga, and the bacterial bile disease can transfer from seedlings and soil.
The bacterial bile disease can be controlled by applying for medicine before plantation and by removing bushes from the chilly plantation areas.
He said that the disease is seen in more sunny and sandy soils and if the seedlings are wounded while plantation then the disease can be transmitted through air.
According to agronomists, the motel virus, which has been seen in Akbare chilly recently, has caused a lot of damage.
According to Bimala Khadka, a farmer and agricultural technician, if symptoms like dotted leaves, yellowing of leaves is observed then in order to control disease, one has to spray mixture of cow's milk (half a liter) and water (four liters).
Farmers of most of the villages in the district have been cultivating Akbare commercially.
Photo Caption: Akbare chilly being cultivated at the farm of Tej Narayan Shrestha at Siddhicharan Municipality-9, Okhaldhunga. Photo: Manoj Bhattarai