It was a milestone for Siaha in Mizoram, especially for the chili farmers across six villages in the district — Zyhno, Ahmypi, Khopai, Siatlai, Chheihlu and Laki.
Maraland Âhiah Paohpa (Maraland organic chilli powder), a bird’s eye chilli powder pack, was officially launched in Siaha town along with Tisopi organic turmeric powder pack for sale last week.
Siaha district deputy commissioner Bhupesh Chaudhary launched the chilli powder pack.
He said six villages in Siaha district bordering Myanmar were among the largest growers of bird’s eye chilli, one of the hottest varieties, in the state.
“Earlier, the farmers could harvest their produce only one time in a year due to lack of market and drying machine. They used to sell 1kg of dry chillies at Rs 150 to traders from outside the state and got a meagre profit,” he said.
However, the district administration took an initiative to help the farmers earn good prices from their produce by setting up chilli powder processing plant under the convergence scheme of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA).
Packing house, store house, collection centre and three drying solar tunnels were constructed under RKVY and electric wiring, cementing solar tunnel floor and basins were installed under MIDH besides water tank under MNREGA.
The Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) also provided chilli pulverizer, packing machine, sealing machine and weighing machine under its corporate social responsibility programme, Chaudhary said.
He said the farmers will earn 14 times more with the launch. The 50gm packaged chilli powder under the brand name of Maraland Ahiah Paohpa will be sold for Rs 35 per packet and it is estimated that farmers will be able to earn Rs 700 from 1kg of dry chillies.
According to Chaudhary, there are at least 283 chilli farmers in the six villages, who are organised under 25 self-help groups.
The farmers formed Maraland Chilli Growers’ Association and the district administration installed chilli procession plant at Zyhno village, he said.
Altogether 10,000 packets were produced from the chilli powder processing plant and another 10,000 packets of turmeric powder from Tisopi plant this year, according to Chaudhary.