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Pushpa Chilli from Gujarat Set to Spice up Karnataka's Politics After Amul

Karnataka's already-heated electoral politics may heat up even more. The declaration by Amul that it will enter the Bengaluru milk market has raised the political temperature in Karnataka, with the Opposition Congress accusing the ruling BJP of planning a conspiracy to eliminate the state's renowned dairy brand Nandini.

Shivam Dwivedi
Pushpa Chilli from Gujarat Set to Spice up Karnataka's Politics After Amul
Pushpa Chilli from Gujarat Set to Spice up Karnataka's Politics After Amul

However, Amul milk is not the only Gujarati product making inroads in Karnataka. A Gujarati chilli type known as 'Pushpa'-sometimes known as Lali- is now causing quite a stir in Karnataka's Byadagi, one of Asia's largest chilli markets.

According to sources, at least 20,000 quintals of Gujarat chilli have been sold at the Byadagi market in recent months. Despite the fact that Pushpa does not compete with the native Dabbi and Kaddi kinds, a large number of the Gujarat type has reached the local market.

According to National Horticulture Board figures for 2021-22, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are the top chilli growers, accounting for over 60% of total chilli production in India. Karnataka is the fourth largest producer of chilies, accounting for about 10% of total production, whereas Gujarat ranks seventh, accounting for slightly more than 1% of total production in the country.

According to reports in the Byadagi market, at least 70 chilli vendors have stored some number of Gujarat chillies in various cold storages near the market. Gujarat chillis have witnessed brisk business as a result of the unexpected jump in pricing in Byadagi, while the Agriculture Produce Market Committee has not received sufficient numbers of Pushpa chillis because the majority of the supply has skipped the market.

"Based on the Dabbi and Kaddi varieties, the Byadagi chilli market has developed its own identity." For many years, several countries and businesses have relied on Byadagi chillis. "As a result, the government must ensure that the reputation of these local chillis is not jeopardized," Ramanna Sudambi, a farmer in Ranebennu taluk.

The production of red chillies has been hampered since the December-January harvests are virus-infected, and over 30% of the produce has been damaged, according to a report from the Kolhapur market last month. "On an average, 1,000 to 1,500 sacks of red chillies arrive at Kolhapur APMC every week," Shahbaz Nadeem, a retail trader of red chillies in Kolhapur, Maharashtra. "Although demand for chillies is high, supply has been severely impacted."

Red chilli auctions are usually held twice a week at the Byadagi market in Karnataka. "The weekly supply has dropped from 1.5 lakh sacks to 50,000 sacks," as per Akshay Satija, an Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) merchant. Red chilli prices rose last year as output fell due to an invasive insect attack and damage from unseasonal rain in major southern producing areas. Lower output drove prices up by much to 80% in four months, setting a new high.

"This season's supply of Gujarat chillis has been steadily increasing." Following the change to the APMC Act, purchasers can acquire agricultural produce from anywhere in the country without obtaining authorization from the market committee. As a result, limiting supply to APMC will be challenging. Furthermore, Pushpa cannot be seen as a danger to the Byadagi chilli market because the Dabbi and Kaddi types have their own reputation," said HY Satish, assistant director and secretary of the APMC, Byadagi.

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