Variable germination and high cost of commercial chilli seed: implications for communal area cash crop chilli production in northern KwaZulu-Natal
Chillies have the potential to increase the income of subsistence farmers in South Africa, since almost the whole produce is sold and there exists a ready market. Although there is a growing demand for African chillies in Europe, South African farmers have not been able to meet the demand, due to the high production costs. Among the production problems are poor seed germination coupled with low seed counts per packet for seed sold commercially, which contributes to high seed costs. The reasons for poor germination in South Africa are not well understood. There were significant differences (p<0.05) in the time to final germination. 'Fury' had significantly (p<0.05) faster germination followed by 'Long Red Cayenne' and 'Hot Chilli Mix'. There were significant differences (p<0.01) in the final germination percentage. We concluded that there was variability in the germination percentage and rate of germination of commercial chilli seeds sold in northern KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). Results demonstrated that both the percent germination and the number of seeds sold in packets varied. Poor germination capacity and small seed numbers per packet cause the cost seed to rise. The results are of importance to farmers in KZN so that they can make informed decisions when they want to adopt chilli production.
Mpanza, F.N. and Mavengahama, S. (2018). Variable germination and high cost of commercial chilli seed: implications for communal area cash crop chilli production in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Acta Hortic. 1204, 249-254
seed germination, chilli seed cost, cultivar, subsistence farmers