The entry of Gujarat into Karnataka’s regional market is all turning spicy. First, it was Amul Milk that irked the state’s indigenous Nandini-backers by announcing entry into the Bengaluru market. And now, rubbing tempers the wrong way is Gujarat’s chilli “Pushpa” – also known as Lali – which is slowly but steadily making inroads into Byadagi, one of the biggest wholesale agricultural markets in Asia. The town, in Haveri district, is known for its own long, red and piquant Byadagi chillies.
According to insiders, at least 20,000 quintals of Lali chillies have been sold in Byadagi in recent months. Though Pushpa is not a competitor to the local Dabbi and Kaddi varieties, the huge quantity is definitely reason to question the sudden influx.
“At least 70 sellers have stocked some quantity of the Gujarat chillis in different cold storage facilities near the market. Taking advantage of the sudden rise in prices in Byadagi, Gujarat chillis have seen brisk business. On the other hand, the APMC in Ahmedabad was left bereft of its share of Pushpa chillies because the lion’s share was shipped to Karnataka,” shared a local trader at APMC, Juhapura.
On the other hand, farmers in Karnataka appealed to the local bodies to favour their own produce. “The Byadagi chilli market has developed its own identity, built on the Dabbi and Kaddi varieties. Different companies have depended on Byadagi chillis for years. The government must therefore ensure that the reputation of the local output remains intact,” stated farmer Ramanna Sudambi, leading the protest in Ranebennu Taluka.
When asked for his input, HY Satish, additional director and secretary of APMC, Byadagi, stated: “True, the supply of Gujarat chillis has been steadily increasing this season. After the amendment to APMC Act, buyers can purchase agricultural produce from anywhere in the nation and there is no need to get permission. So, it will be difficult to restrict supply to APMC.”