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Friday, November 15, 2013

Hot Spice: 'Naga Mircha', The Hottest Spice Of The World

By Sameer Tandu | INN Live

The traditional Nagaland Chilli variety is 400 times more hotter than normal ones. Can you imagine a chilli variety that is nearly 400 times hotter than the normal ones? Well, the Naga Mircha, the traditional chilli variety of Nagaland, is one of the hottest chilli varieties of the world as its pungency level is about 400 times more than the normal ones.

This hottest variety, which is available for tasting, is naturally the hottest attraction at the three-day international organic trade fair titled “BioFach India together with India Organic 2013” being organised jointly by Nuremberg Messe India Private Limited, International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture (ICCOA) and the Karnataka State Agriculture Department at the Bangalore Palace Grounds from Thursday.
The Naga Mircha has been showcased at the stall put up by the Nagaland Government in the trade fair. As against the pungency level of 2,500 to 5,000 Schoville Heat Units (which is a method of measuring the pungency level) of normal chillies, the Naga Mircha has a pungency measure of over 10 lakh SHUs, according to experts.

Akali Sema, Professor of the Department of Horticulture in the School of Agricultural Sciences and Rural Development of the Nagaland University, points out that Naga Mircha was granted the Geographical Indication tag in 2007.

Nagaland is using this hottest variety to draw the attention of the world on it’s organic crops. Naga Mircha is one of the few chosen varieties of crops which are being promoted under organic farming in this hill State.

Abea Mero, a foreign educated agri entrepreneur from Nagaland, who is a major exporter of Naga Mircha, says the produce is being sold around Rs. 1,800 to 2,000 a kg within India. “We export it to various States within India and several foreign countries. The demand is growing so much that it is not possible to meet all of it,” she notes.

Pointing out that this chilli grows only in a particular region of Nagaland as the crop is very sensitive to weather conditions, she says she is making efforts to increase the area under cultivation of this chilli.

She also processes the chilli and sells pickles made out of it.

According to Dr. Sema, Nagaland is now identifying important native crops that have commercial value and trying to promote organic cultivation methods for them so that farmers can get remunerative prices. Such crops which are being promoted under organic cultivation include pineapple, turmeric and ginger in addition to Naga Mircha.
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