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Dwarf vegetable chilli with high yield


By Our Agriculture Correspondent

SCIENTISTS AT the department of Olericulture, Horticultural College and Research Institute (HC&RI), Coimbatore, have developed a less pungent, vegetable chilli with high yield potential. This variety has been released for commercial cultivation by the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore as Co4 vegetable chilli early this year.

Co4 chilli is a pureline selection made from an open-pollinated type introduced from Sri Lanka. It has a duration of 165 days after transplanting. It is ideally suited for kharif and rabi season. This variety yields dark green, stout fruits, which are less pungent, and turn to capsicum red upon ripening. It has recorded 96.58 per cent higher yield than PKM-1 chilli when harvested as green chilli.. Its yield potential is 23 tonnes of green chilli per hectare, according to the scientists at HC&RI.

This new high yielding variety is moderately susceptible to fruit rot, die-back, mosaic and susceptible to thrips, mites and spiralling whitefly. Since it is a dwarf-statured plant, it is ideally suited for high density planting. The good quality green chilli is well suited for making chutney, curries, pickles and salad. This variety is adopted to the fertile soils of Coimbatore, Erode, Dindigul, Karur, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Thiruvannamalai, Kancheepuram and Kanyakumari districts.

The vegetable chilli responds well to modern cultural management practices. It does well under high nitrogen application. It can be cultivated with irrigation in all the three seasons of June- July, September-October and March-April. A seed rate of 1.2 kg will be needed for raising nursery to cover a hectare. The seedlings are ideally planted in raised bed at an espacement of 45 cm by 30 cm. It can be also planted closely at 30 cm by 30 cm spacing.

As a basal dressing 60 kg phosphorus and 30 kg potash per hectare should be applied. After 30 days of planting, the first top dressing with 30 kg nitrogen should be applied. The second split dose of 30 kg should be added on the 60 th day, and the final dose of 30 kg should be incorporated on the 90 th day after transplanting. The crop should be regularly irrigated, and the field should be kept free of weeds by periodic manual weeding to encourage vigorous growth.

The crop should be protected from the major pests and diseases by following a strict plant protection schedule. The use of botanical insecticides and integrated pest and disease management practices will be of immense value. When sprayed four rounds of plant growth regulators, the fruit yield can be substantially increased. Though, the variety dose well in different types of soil, its best performance can be seen in well drained, deep fertile, loamy soil rich in organic matter, according to the scientists.

The dwarf variety has a canopy resembling an umbrella and the fruits are borne underneath this canopy. They are not exposed to high wind and are well sheltered from lodging during high winds. When closely planted, it has the potential to yield upto 26 tonnes of green chilli per hectare.The plants put out first flower in about 66 days after sowing, and first harvest of green chilli can be had from 100 days of sowing. From then 6 to 7 pickings can be had at an interval of 10 days. The weight of 100 fruits will be 650 g, and each plant on an average will yield about 80 fruits.

Under the All India Coordiated trial, this variety performed well in eight centres. Besides this, it has the lowest stalk to fruit ratio, which is an advantage in chilli. The stalk and calyx neither contain capsicin (the pungent principal) nor capsanthin (the coluring chemical). The quality of the produce in chilli is judged based on its oleoresin content, as it is a value-added product with good internatioanl demand. The oleoresin content of this variety is very high (14 per cent), according to the scientists.

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