Handy tips given on U-Morok cultivation
Source: The Sangai Express / Konsam Samita

Imphal, July 14 2021: King Chilli (Capsicum Annum L) is a traditionally cultivated crop in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and in other North Eastern States of India.

The chilli, U-Morok in the local dialect, is known by different names such as ghost pepper, ghost chilli, bhoot jolokia etc.

Grown since time immemorial in Manipur, U-Morok, which is considered one of the hottest chillis in the world, is quite popular among the local denizens for its unique flavour.

For its high demand in the local as well as the outside markets, many farmers are planting this chilli variety for commercial purposes today.

To help the cultivators get a bountiful harvest, SMS (Plant Protection) of KVK Imphal East Dr Hemam Ramananda Singh shared some tips to protect U-Morek from pests and diseases.

Handy tips given on U-Morok cultivation
Handy tips given on U-Morok cultivation

Speaking to this reporter, Dr Ramananda stated that every farmer should have a proper knowledge of the diseases and pests that can damage standing crops.

The common diseases that afflict U-Morok crop includes damping off, leaf spot, anthracnose, die back, fusarium wilt etc, he said and added that anthracnose, also known as fruit rot, is the most common of them all in Manipur.

Here is what the expert says on the diseases and pests that infect/fall on U-Morok.

This disease affects the fruit of the crop, causing the fruit to perish.

Ring formation on the fruit of U-Morok is a sign of this disease.

Die back
Crop enduring this disease will die after progressive drying of twigs, shoots, or roots, starting at the tips.

Fusarium wilt
The chilli suffereing from fusarium wilt will have yellowish leaves.

Soon after being infected, half of the crop will start wilting.

The crop normally dies after 2 to 3 days after infection.

Farmers cultivating U-Morok often face this problem.

On the other hand, the pests that are harmful to U-Morok are thrips, aphids, spider mites and fruit borers.

Curling of leaves on the standing crop is a sign of thrips attack while those attacked by aphids will have yellowish leaves.

Mites, on the other hand, are hardly visible to naked eyes.

They are also called spider mites for their features are similar to spiders.

Miticides are used in controlling spider mites.

Formation of web-like spots on the leaves is a sign of mites infestation.

Biocontrol or chemical methods can be used to protect crops from spider mites.

To prevent U-Morok from fruit borer, one can either use Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) or Beauveria Bassiana while in case of thrips and aphids farmers can lay blue sticky trap and yellow sticky trap respectively.

Fipronil 5 percent can be sprayed on the crop infected by fruit borer while 5% SG can be sprayed on those with aphids, mites infestation.

On the other hand, to prevent the crops from aphids and thrips Imidacloprid 17.8 SL can be used.

Saying that growing U-Morok in sunny places often lead to premature fruit drop due to temperature fluctuations and moisture stress, Dr Ramananda advised cultivation of U-Morok in polyhouse.

Continuing that the common problems being faced by U-Morok cultivators in Imphal East are premature fruit drops, he added that this phenomenon can also be caused by certain diseases, shortage of water and improper pollination, excessive use of chemicals.

The expert also said that he is open to anyone who seeks suggestions on U-Morok cultivation.

This reporter also had the privilege to speak with Khaidem Roben, an U-Morok cultivator from Lamboikhul Mayai Leikai.

He said that the common problems that he faces while planting U-Morok are leaves withering, blackening of the stem and fruits falling prematurely.

Saying that the Covid restriction is making it difficult for him to implement the suggestions he received from the KVK Imphal East for a good harvest, he added that most of the crops he planted have died and only about 30 percent is alive.

Roben continued that he is considering going for soil testing after consultation with the experts.

The farmer also apprised that he has been cultivating U-Morok since 2016 when the price of this chilli was about Rs 120 per kilogram.

(This article is written under the Media Fellowship Program in Scientific Journalism of the Public Relations and Media Management Cell, CAU Imphal.

Dr Indira Thounaojam, Information & Publicity Officer, PRMM Cell can be contacted at to know more about this article and related information
) .

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