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Farmer uses hot new techniques for growing chillies

Farmer uses hot new techniques for growing chillies
Vientiane Times, 8 Feb 2010
New techniques for growing chillies can help farmers boost yields and
improve the quality of their crop, as well as saving them time.
Mr Amphay Sermmalavan is a farmer living in Natham village, Hadxaifong
district, Vientiane province, and has been growing chillies for two
years. He has been trying out new methods to help him improve his
income and living conditions, and is keen to promote his techniques
among farmers in nearby villages.
He said he could help farmers to boost yields of many crops,
particularly chillies, which are a good source of income because they
bear fruit all year.
These techniques can also be used in tomato cultivation, but Mr Amphay
is the first person in his village to try them on chillies. He now
produces good quality chillies that sell for a high price.
Vendors pay 200,000 kip for 12 kg of Mr Amphay's fresh chillies.
The most important aspect is to control weeds and add nutrients to
improve the soil quality. Legumes should be grown on the plots before
the chillies are planted to prepare the soil, and the plants should be
watered twice a month to improve growth.
The use of plastic bags is very important for covering plots,
controlling weeds and encouraging fast growth. Bamboo tubes are used
as a support to prevent the stem from falling down when the plant
reaches maturity.
Mr Amphay said many farmers still cling to the old ways and have to
spend a lot of time clearing weeds from their plots. In addition, they
don't do anything to improve soil quality, relying instead on chemical
fertilisers and insecticide.
Mr Amphay invested more than three million kip to buy the growing
materials and could potentially earn more than 20 million kip a year
from his field of 4,800 square metres, producing over 36kg of chillies
a week.
One problem faced by chilli farmers is pests attacking the leaves,
resulting in abnormally small fruits that sell for a low price. The
best solution is to cut the top of the stem, and add fertiliser
(formula 15-15-15 or 16-20-00) and hormone to the soil, accompanied by
increased watering.
One vendor in Suanmon market said she currently sells fresh chillies
for 120,000 kip per 12kg.
Mr Amphay said the authorities should do more to prevent illegal crop
imports in order to keep chilli prices stable and keep farmers happy.




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