After rice, China's kitchens now relish hot Indian chillies

Indian chilli is now in huge demand in China. Photo: Shutter Stock

New Delhi: It is not just rice that India is supplying to the kitchens in China. Along with rice, the demand for chillies has surged. China, one of the primary chilly producers of the world, has 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 told India Narrative.

The Chinese have taken a fancy to Indian chillies, which are hotter than what is produced elsewhere, news portal MoneyControl reported. China now accounts for nearly half the exports of the hot spice.

According to Xinhua, a Chinese media house, 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, a 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.

Besides, China the demand for Indian chillies and chilli powder has also surged in South East Asia and the Middle East. Produce Report, a Chinese news portal for exporters, importers and retailers, pointed out the global trade in chilli peppers was worth nearly $30 billion in 2017, greater than that for coffee or tea.

In 2020-21, India exported 6,01,500 tonnes of red chillies worth Rs 8,430 crore.The Press Information Bureau said that a 250 kg consignment of the chilly variety, Bhoot Jolokia was recently exported to London for the first time. The consignment was sourced from Tuning, part of Peren district in Nagaland."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 exported to London via Guwahati by air for the first time", the PIB said.

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

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