Prospective chilli farmers have been advised to time their crops for harvesting during festivities so as to maximise profits when global demand is highest.
Lagran Group Chief Executive Officer Nickly Kipkorir says demand is usually high when most people are marking various events such as Eid al-Fitr, Christmas and Easter.
“At the moment, all kinds of chilli are in demand, both locally and abroad because of the upcoming Christmas and New Year festivities,” said Kipkorir, whose company exports to the United Arab Emirates, Europe and the Americas.
The Lagran Group is looking for Cayenne pepper, which they buy at Sh100 per Kg (green) and Sh150-180 per Kg (dry).
Dry chilli prices differ based on quality, with Kipkorir noting that some farmers do not properly dry their harvest, leaving some of it to either grow mold or break, leading to a loss of value.
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Kipkorir says market prices of chilli vary depending on the buying company.
“Some companies give farmers contracts that give a standard price per kilogram, which is maintained throughout the year, irrespective of the market demand. However, we (Lagran) only buy when there is demand and that is why we can maintain the favourable prices,” said Kipkorir.
In 2016 the average price of a 38kg bag of chilli was Sh2,574 while in 2017 the price of the same quantity of chilli rose Sh3,109 translating to 17 per cent increase.
Cayenne pepper, also known as jalepeno, red pepper, the Guinea spice, cow-horn pepper or bird pepper is a hot chili pepper used to flavor meals. It is named after the city of Cayenne in French Guiana, an overseas region of France on the northeast coast of South America, which is composed mainly of tropical rainforest.
An acre of land if well managed can yield 5,000Kg to 10,000Kg of red pepper (before drying), in a harvest period of 2-3 months (it takes 70-75 days from transplanting for one to harvest the crop).
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An acre of land will require 300gms of seed, which can be bought from Simlaw Seeds shops. A 250gms packet of seeds, which need to be planted in nursery first, costs Sh620.