The above picture shows : A farmer owning one acre of chilli farms, which was attacked by virus.
The story of how Bydagi chillies don’t grow in Bydagi anymore.
India is a country where various kinds of agricultural farming are done. Still, we find a lot of farmers who are poor and are facing losses due to the failure of their crops.
Bydagi a taluk, famous for its trading market now, was once known for growing red chillies. The Bydagi itself became the name of this variety of chilli which is found in areas of Karnataka now. These chillies are famous for its deep colour and less pungency all over the world.
Well, the astonishing fact is that bydagi chillies do not grow in Bydagi anymore. It was before a decade or two when Bydagi farmers used to grow red chillies.
Raju Mogeri a trader in Bydagi market said that the yield from the agricultural land started vanishing from the year 1993, it was the time when Oleo resin Company entered Bydagi market. A company named ‘Syntec’ started extracting oil from the Bydagi chillies and made food colours, nail paint, cosmetic and also used it for medicinal purposes. Bydagi chilli was the most preferable chilli for them because it was less pungent and had more colour.
Not only Bydagi but there are lots of significant areas of land in India that have accorded as Geographical indicator. But the variety no more survives to grow there. There are many reasons for it, one of the most common is the virus/pest and diseases attack agricultural crops and land.
Bydagi is one of the places which is highly affected by the virus attack “modur” in their chilli farms. Farmers are therefore suffering due to erratic rainfall and the moisture content left in the chilli plant which leads to modur.
The problem of the viral infection is not just limited to north Karnataka but has led to all most all the agricultural farms in India. In Coimbatore more than 40% of the crop losses were due to pests attack in year 2012, according to the Times of India.
After the survey of 5000 farm households across 18 states, Down to the earth found that 76% of farmers prefer other work than farming as their crops have been destroyed by pests and unseasonable rainfall. This report was taken out recently in year 2018.
So there are many crops which are attacked by the pests every year and our farmers in return cannot battle back, as even after spraying pesticides their crops are not able to recover. Moreover, the pesticides cost a lot of money especially when they want to use pesticides which is actually helpful to their crops and can cure them at once.
Pests and diseases cannot be controlled once it gets into the plant or the baby crop, it can only be controlled beforehand by spraying pesticides said Dr Prabhudeva, a scientist working in Horticulture Research station in Haveri. He is working to bring back the glory of Bydagi, he added by saying that ‘we cannot control the pest once entered the plant, we can just stop the pest from entering.’
He said we are developing sciences and making hybrids as giving resistance to Bydagi variety from the pest is getting difficult.
Therefore we see that scientists are trying to develop hybrids seeds for farmers to grow chillies again in Bydagi, but to cure the pure variety seeds has yet not been successful. Our system still struggles to fight back the virus attacks on the agricultural farms leaving the farmers to face huge losses or to shift to easy growing, less profitable crop.
Well, Bydagi seems to see a shift in a horticulture crop that is ginger in 2019, recently Vijaya Lakshmi from horticulture department of Bydagi informed us about the increasing growth in ginger cultivation.
One chilli bag holds, on an average of 30 kg of chillies said a trader from bydagi market.