At the beginning of February 2017, Zizira explorers visited the Umden weekly haat and witnessed a market packed with farmers and local traders. We learned that a lot of produces sold here, such as black pepper, perilla seeds, ginger, and chilies, are collected from a few local backyard farmers and sold collectively at these haats.
Did you know? Haats are traditional weekly markets that are set up in villages on a weekly basis.
We Meet Farmers Growing Ghost Chili
After a quick tour of the haat, we were out having tea when a conversation with a few locals started, and we were directed to a farmer growing ghost chili. After the tea, we headed to the area where ghost chili farmers lived, in our quest to find farmers growing this fiery chili and perhaps another farmer to work with Zizira.
We met Mr. Swell Rympat, a 65-year-old farmer. We were excited to hear his story and work with him in a bid to open doors for the ghost chili he grows to the whole of India.
He shared how he started growing ghost chili in 2014, after receiving saplings from traders from Assam for ₹3 each. He doesn't have large farmland but planted ghost chili in his backyard and grew around 10 kgs of raw ghost chili in 2016..
“"I'm old now and do not have the strength to work on huge farmlands. I sold off my farm 3 years ago, and now work in my backyard to grow ghost chili", said Mr. Swell.
Harvest Goes Waste
It is a pity that most of the ghost chili harvested in 2016 was wasted as there were no buyers. So, farmer Swell stopped growing ghost chili. As it was too spicy for him, he did not grow even for his own use. This was something team Zizira made a note of, as we do know that ghost chili has a demand! So, these are the farmers who need market support. We did the needful and took his contact to procure ghost chili grown by him.
"Its first bite feels like any ordinary chili, but after a few seconds, you will feel the immense heat in your mouth," said Mr. Swell.
We were happy to have met farmer Swell and explained what Zizira is and how we plan to build a long-term relationship with farmers.
A Farmer who Harvested the Most Chili
Without wasting time, we headed back to the haat, with hopes of meeting some more farmers, and, guess what? We did meet another farmer growing ghost chili pepper, Mr. Timung, from Marmain village (13 Km from Umden). There were so many things to learn from Mr. Timung. He was a man in his 70s who was happy to share his experiences with us and ready to introduce us to his fellow villagers. We then reached Marmain, a half an hour drive, and we were excited to meet the local villagers from the Karbi tribe.
Mr. Timung then guided us to a young school teacher who grew the most ghost chili in his village in 2016 - Mr. Lolit Ingti. A young progressive farmer, he is a teacher at Marmain and grows chili and rice in his spare time. He planted 2,000 chili saplings in 2016 and harvested 100 Kgs. He was happy to hear about Zizira and was willing to work with us. he was happy to know that people from all over the world would be able to buy ghost chili from them through our platform.
“We sell ghost chili to traders from Nongpoh, who come over to our village during harvest. I don’t know what happens to the chilies after that,” said Lolit
Upon hearing this, we took out our cell phones and showed our online store to farmer Timung. We wanted to let him know where his produce will be displayed for consumers across the country and that he would get the best ghost chili price than he usually does.
Have Questions? Write to us
This is a short account of our trip to meet farmers growing the world's hottest chili in Meghalaya. If you have never tried Bhut Jolokia chilies before, you can buy authentic ghost chili from Zizira at the best price. At Zizira, we are continuously exploring unique produces in Meghalaya so that we can promote them to the rest of the world through our platform. We are all about local and fresh produces. Buy Ghost chili online at Zizira and support small farmers like Timung and Swell..
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