Andhra Pradesh: E-Mircha helps chilli growers reap profits

The Digital Green NGO has partnered with AgNEXT, Kalgudi, GS1, Spices Board, ITC-eCHOUPAL and Krishitantra to provide an e-commerce online platform.
Over 20,000 farmers who utilised the Kalgudi digital market-platform sold their produce in the international market and earned around Rs 1,800 to Rs 1,900 extra per quintal.
Over 20,000 farmers who utilised the Kalgudi digital market-platform sold their produce in the international market and earned around Rs 1,800 to Rs 1,900 extra per quintal.

ONGOLE : With an aim to enhance the quality and quantity of chillies through digital technology in regions of Prakasam, Palnadu, Guntur and Krishna districts, E-Mircha project has been instrumental in bagging better prices to around 67,000 chilli growers since 2021.

Andhra Pradesh has been a major chilli-producing State in India and the yield is famous across the world with its high demand in the international market for its rich colour and pungency.

The E-Mircha project, introduced by an NGO called Digital Green in association with the Horticulture department and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, focuses on incorporating the latest digital technology in chilli cultivation to increase production capacity of farmers.

As part of the project, four international standards quality testing laboratories were established to test the quality parameters such as moisture content (less than 10%), aflatoxins, pesticide residuals, foreign materials, percentage of Oleo-resins, including the colouring pigment of capsaicin and the pungency base capsanthin alkaloids, and others. Using these results the farmers are assessed and are guided to produce export quality yield, enabling them to acquire best prices in international markets.

“The quality tests at these labs will cost around Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000, however these services are provided to the farmers at a nominal fee of only Rs 150, enormously benefitting the ryots. Digital Green has been providing training to 1,000 Rythu Bharosa Kendras employees in selected districts. Now, the NGO is planning to set up seven more quality labs in the new locations,” said Y Premchand, assistant director of horticulture department in Prakasam district.

Speaking to TNIE, Digital Green regional technical coordinator (AP & TG) Kamalakar said, “We are going to expand E-Mircha 2.0 project in 13 other districts. Apart from the chillies, now we are going to extend our digital technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technical support to the turmeric, groundnut and tomato crops.”

The Digital Green NGO has partnered with AgNEXT, Kalgudi, GS1, Spices Board, ITC-eCHOUPAL and Krishitantra to provide an e-commerce online platform to the farmers so that they can easily sell their produce directly to traders without any middlemen.

Over 20,000 farmers who utilised the Kalgudi digital market-platform sold their produce in the international market and earned around Rs 1,800 to Rs 1,900 extra per quintal. Subba Reddy, a chilli farmer from Tripurantakam said that after getting a quality certificate from the Digital Green quality lab, they got an additional profit of Rs 2,000 per quintal more than the market prices and earned more profits in the last season.

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