— Though it is among one of the most exotic species, bhot jolokia (Capsicum Chinese) has never got the due which it so rightfully deserves. For long its cultivation has been confined to the kitchen gardens. Nor were any attempt made to cultivate it commercially. The demand for the neglected bhot jolokia increased manifold following the discovery that this chilli variety is the hottest of all about two years back. Measuring 1,001,304 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), bhot jolokia was finally regarded as the hottest chilli. Coming out of its long oblivion the demand for bhot jolokia went up by leaps and bounds. In fact now bhot jolokia figures among the tastiest pepper in the world. Taste apart different experiments on the multiple uses of this chilli species have raised its demand. The Defence Research Laboratory, Tezpur has found out that this chilli can be used effectively to control unruly crowds. Taking a step further the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) is conducting trials on grenades stuffed with bhot jolokia to make a powerful yet non-lethal bomb. Now this chilli is also being used to chase away wild herds of elephants from human habitations.
Considering the diverse use of bhot jolokia, the State government has taken a step in the right direction to cultivate bhot jolokia in a big way. As a beginning the chilli will be cultivated on a 300-hectare land. Along with it the government is also planning to promote cultivation of bhot jolokia in Golaghat and Baska districts under the Technology Mission for Horticulture Development. With the conditions ideal in the State for bhot jolokia cultivation, the authorities should come forward and make the farmers aware about the benefits they can derive by taking up the cultivation of this exotic species of chilli. Proper training needs to be imparted to the farmers on the scientific way of cultivating this variety of chilli. The export potential of bhot jolokia is quite high as a number of foreign buyers have evinced their interest in it. Considering its demand, commercial cultivation of bhot jolokia can bring in good dividends to the farmers and the State alike. To make it feasible the authorities should assist the farmers to identify the markets and make the necessary linkages. If cultivated in the right way bhot jolokia would provide livelihood to the farmers as an alternative crop. ASSAM TRIBUNE