‘Chilli Villages’ in Kerala's Pathanamthitta to process pesticide-free chilli powder

The Kudumbashree plans to create a brand name soon for the chilli powder from Chilli Villages and market it through its outlets and digital platforms. 
Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)
Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)

PATHANAMTHITTA:  Aiming to provide pesticide-free chilli powder to the people, the Pathanamthitta district unit of the Kudumbashree Mission has launched a novel initiative christened Chilli Village. It has set up Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) to cultivate chilli in 25-cent plots, which have been named ‘agroecological plots’. The first phase of the project is progressing in 20 panchayats in the district. 

“Each group comprises four to five Kudumbashree neighbourhood group members,” said Kudumbashree Mission Pathanamthitta district coordinator S Adhila, the brain behind the project. “The Kudumbashree Mission has given 28 to 35-day-old seedlings of Samarth and Armour hybrids of chilli which have the quality of Kashmiri chilli.”

The seedlings were produced and distributed by the Krishisree Centre of the Parakode Block. “Cultivation has started in three panchayats and steps are on to begin cultivation in the remaining 17 local bodies as soon as possible. Three months into cultivation, the groups can reap 2,700kg of chilli from 25 cents. During the first phase, a total of five acres are being cultivated and we expect 10,000kg of chilli powder to be processed,” Adhila said.

The district Kudumbashree Mission is executing the project in association with the Pathanamthitta district panchayat. The tagline is ‘Healthy Food for Healthy People’, with agroecological engineering principles being used for cultivation. The Kudumbashree plans to create a brand name soon for the chilli powder from Chilli Villages and market it through its outlets and digital platforms. 

Adhila said the Kudumbashree is giving JLGs seeds and manure free of cost. The groups will get incentives too, with the district panchayat having set aside Rs 15 lakh for the first phase. “We have launched this project to provide pesticide-free chilli powder to our people and ensure a healthy life. There will be three units at the district level to procure chilli from JLGs. Two groups will be set up to process chilli powder. Once the first phase is successfully executed, more local bodies will be added to the project,” she said.

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