Bell pepper (Capsicum annum) is a potential cash crop in horticulture. Bell pepper or sweet pepper can be grown in open or tunnels. Tunnel farming’s benefit is that farmers can sell the product in the market in the early season and get more profit due to high rates in the market. It is said by different experienced growers that bell pepper can give enough higher profit if it is well-supervised with good agricultural practices. There are different varieties by multinational companies that can yield more in Pakistan. In this article, I will discuss each aspect of bell pepper farming. There are the following outlines under which a whole article will be discussed,
- Selection of variety
- Nursery preparation
- Land preparation
- Plant protection
- Fertilizer and irrigation
- Harvesting and yield
Variety selection and nursery preparation
There are a lot of farmers and experienced growers who are using imported seeds. There are a lot of varieties in the market like Twingo or bell pepper no.1 etc. and other hybrid varieties. Seed selection is necessary, hybrid varieties are performing well in our climate. It is suggested that farmer who is willing for bell pepper business, then advised to search and explore not only the seed market as well as pay visit to experts for a better experience to avoid adulteration and fraud from the seed mafia.
After selecting the variety, it is suggested that for tunnel farming or winter forcing the month of November is suitable for growing nurseries. The nursery is grown on a raised bed where seeds are sown in lines with semi moisture conditions. It is necessary to protect the miniature plant from the cold and do not flood the water but keep the soil in water conditions. It was said by farmers that apply the DAP during the nursery stage and nursery prepared well in 20-25 days and ready to transplant in the field. It is suggested that nursery plants should not be taller, or their height should be 5-6 inches and it will be better for growing the maximum number of fruits per plant. It is suggested that seeds should be disinfected with fungicides spray. Although it is important to mention that seeds for bell pepper are enough costly.
Land preparation, as always an important step for the future destinations of field crops. Land leveling is important and mandatory for the flow of water. It will be better to apply the natural and organic matter in the field and spread it while during the land preparation. It is suggested that during land preparation add 2 bags of DAP, 2 bags of potash, and 1 bag of Sulphur. Walk-in tunnel farming is common for bell pepper, so beds preparation should be pre-plan, for this purpose four beds are prepared in such a way that middle to beds width size is kept about 2.5ft and outer two beds are 1.5ft in size and bed to bed distance between these four beds kept 1ft and this area wind up the one walk-in tunnel. Plant to plant distance should be 1.5ft so that later when the plant grows it will spread so keep this distance but do not exceed.
After 25-30 days when nursery plants are shifted in the field under a walk-in tunnel, it is recommended that with each irrigation apply the fungicides. In tunnels, fungus diseases are very common due to excessive humidity. Some farmer uses the black sheet on the bed to control the weeds and keep the soil moisture level for a longer period. During the daytime when the temperature rise keep the tunnel sheet open from both sides for 3-4 hours from 12-4 pm, so that excessive humidity should be released to avoid fungal diseases. It is suggested that spray of fungicides of different multinational companies should be applied with Sulphur.
Capsicum fertilizer requirement and irrigation schedule
Normally, it is a good start if the soil was incorporated with farmyard manure and fertilizer as is mentioned in the land preparation section. It was said by a progressive farmer that when they shifted the plants in the field under tunnel environment then there was no irrigation was applied due to the rainy season but when in the mid of February when the sheet was removed then irrigation was applied with DAP, potash and 10 kg of Sulphur and after a week first fruit harvesting was done. It is suggested that irrigation should be according to the condition when plants require more water before falling into the water stress. Use of a black sheet is a plus point that preserves more water and keeps the bed more in semi-wet conditions and also controls weeds, but after removing the white and black sheet it is suggested that immediately a weedicide spray should be applied to avoid the weed problem. Bell pepper harvesting or fruit picking will remain 5 times more in the remaining crop time which is about three months and it is suggested that the application of potash with 10kg of Sulphur with each irrigation interval should be applied this will be helpful for gaining more shiny and healthy fruit with more yield.
Capsicum cultivation profit per acre
Harvesting started after two months and even first picking can give enough yield due to higher rates in the market. Farmer counts it yields as a polythene bag with 3-4kg of weight or on the other hand, it can be estimated that 2-4 kg per plant yield can be achieved within first harvesting and which yielded more in next picking. Overall, it was stated by a progressive farmer that each picking grower can earn 1-2 lakh of income per acre, and a total of five pickings can be obtained.
Overall, total expenditure including tunnel structure, spray, fertilizer, and all other miscellaneous factors can be estimated up to 1.5 lakh and profit can be generated easily with this crop.
- Bell pepper has enough potential just like a tomato for income.
- Variety selection is an important step for farmers.
- Bell pepper for tunnel farming gives the opportunity to the farmer for getting his commodity early in the season with higher rates.
- Land preparation is important to step, a combination of farmyard manure and fertilizer is good for the juvenile plant.
- It is suggested that while spraying fungicides also add Sulphur for higher fruit yield.
- Fungus diseases are very common in tunnel farming, so keep the irrigation schedule at your wisdom.
- During hot days open the tunnel for 2-3 hours a day for removing the extra moisture.
- Overall, the crop is a 6-7-month lifespan with 5 pickings.
I hope this article helps you a lot, keep commenting if you got your thoughts. Stay tuned!