Indian chillies spice up China’s kitchens with bowl of rice

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The chunk of chilly production in China is concentrated in Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi Hebei, Henan, Sichuan and Shaanxi…reports Mahua Venkatesh

It is not just rice that India is supplying to the kitchens in China. Along with rice, the demand for chillies has increased too. China, one of the primary chilly producers of the world, has now started importing the key ingredient required for its cooking from India.

“While China produces over 45 per cent of world chillies, it has started importing the same as they find Indian chillies better and spicier,” an exporter said.

It said that in the recent years, Chinese people have taken a fancy to Indian chillies, which are hotter than what is produced elsewhere. The report added that China now accounts for nearly half of the export of the hot spice.

According to Chinese media house Xinhua a total of 780 hectares of chilli was planted in 2018. Local officials had handed out more than 16 million chilli seedlings, and encouraged 5,461 impoverished families to grow more than 653 hectares of the crops.

“But due to the excessive rains and floods, large part of these crops have been damaged. Last year several chilly growers had also been hit by the Covid 19 pandemic,” the exporter said.

The chunk of chilly production in China is concentrated in Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi Hebei, Henan, Sichuan and Shaanxi.

Besides, China, demand for Indian chillies and chilli powder has grown among other countries including several in South East Asia and the Middle East.

India’s total exports of red chillies — of various kinds — stood at about 6,01,500 tonnes worth about Rs 8,430 crore in 2020-21

Produce Report, a Chinese news portal for exporters, importers and retailer, pointed out that global trade in chili peppers was worth nearly $30 billion in 2017, greater than that for coffee or tea.

Chillies are required not only for daily food and diet, they also form a key ingredient for several pharmaceutical products.

Red Bhut Jolokia and green bird’s eye chilies (Wikipedia)

Not surprising that chillies have now caught the fancy of the world.

Earlier, this week, the government’s Press Information Bureau said that for the first time a 250 kg consignment of Bhoot Jolokia or “Raja Mircha” — the hottest chillies in the world, from Nagaland was shipped to London. “In a major boost to exports of Geographical Indications (GI) products from the north-eastern region, a consignment of ‘Raja Mircha’ also referred as king chilli from Nagaland was today exported to London via Guwahati by air for the first time,” the PIB said on Wednesday. It got GI certification in 2008.

The consignment was sourced from Tening, part of Peren district, Nagaland and was packed at APEDA assisted packhouse at Guwahati.

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