GUNTUR: The largest chilli market in Asia in Guntur is doing brisk business after it reopened on June 13. The yard has been receiving 50,000-70,000 bags of chilli every day for the past couple of weeks owing to the high demand.
Prices of all varieties of the fruit have been skyrocketing ever since the reopening. The ‘341 deluxe’ variety is expensive by Rs 6,000-Rs 7,000 per quintal, whereas the prices of other varieties too have witnessed a spike of Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000 per quintal.
On the increasing popularity of 341 deluxe, Madhu Babu, a trader, said the variety has a rich red colour and hot flavour, and is predominantly grown in the erstwhile Guntur and Prakasam districts in Andhra Pradesh, and Khammam in Telangana.
“Fertile soil and the presence of a mirchi yard nearby led to the variety gaining popularity worldwide,” he said and added that the recent hikes in chilli prices were unusual. Due to pest infestation, the crop quality was affected in most of the areas. “So buyers are rushing to buy the best available quality of pepper, and are ready to pay high prices to the farmers even before the season,” he explained.
Ramana Babu, a mirchi farmer from Guntur said, “Though I tried to sell my produce before the holidays, which was usually the norm, due to various reasons I couldn’t and shifted them to a nearby cold storage. Now I am getting good offers for the produce as the prices have inflated like never before.”
It is estimated that about 50 lakh bags of mirchi is presently stored in cold storages, which will maintain the pace of the business for the next few months.