IN | Hero | VI24 | Vishnu Saave

Stories - 30-11-2020

The rise of sweet pepper in India

“It is exciting to switch from traditional pepper varieties to an unknown variety that you still have to master the cultivation.” Mr. Vishnu Saave, also known as Kaka, a grower with 40 acres of net houses in Palghar, Maharashtra, was the first grower in India who tried the sweet pepper Massilia or Rijk Zwaan. Now he is an ambassador for this pepper. "Before we started with Massilia, the Rijk Zwaan team showed me several hybrid plots of this sweet pepper. The overall cost benefits convinced me. We planted the first 2 acres in 2013-2014, for green harvest purpose.”

Repaying bank loans

“The first year we got a good harvest (almost 80 MT per acre) and gained a better price (30 Rs per kg) than we were used to. After that year, we added some acres. In 2015-2016 we already produced Massilia on 10 acres in net houses. With the bumper yield of that acreage I repaid my bank loans and released the mortgage on my property.”

Increasing acreage

“The results at our company aroused the interest of other growers. Our company is brand ambassador of Massilia now. Last year, this sweet pepper variety from Rijk Zwaan was grown on 250 acres net houses in Palghar already. Growers also switch to Massilia outside this region. Rijk Zwaan gives full attention, for example training, proper fertigation schedules, monitoring water quality, advising the right harvest stage.”

Not only the growers are interested, but traders from Mumbai to Jaipur and Ahmedabad are also keen on it. Massilia has an attractive fruit color, the size is 130-160 grams and the shelf life is better than that of traditional varieties.

Exchange information

“With Rijk Zwaan India we are open and honest about future developments. Their sweet pepper breeder visits us several times a year. This gives us the opportunity to discuss new material and varieties, but also future trends and market changes. Social trends are dictating a reduction in the use of pesticides. Rijk Zwaan strives to the highest level of resistances. To strengthen India's sweet pepper industry it is important to exchange information. Not only with Rijk Zwaan India, but also with other growers."