Tenfold increase paprika pepper harvest over last 25 years

25/10/2005 14:00

Total paprika pepper production has increased tenfold over the last 25 years due to expansion of cultivation area and higher crop yields. Total paprika pepper cultivation area has increased sixfold over the last quarter century to more than 1,200 ha in 2004. In the same period the annual paprika pepper yield per square metre rose from 15 kg in 1980 to 26 kg in 2004. The cultivation of red and yellow peppers increased noticeably.

Paprika pepper cultivation area by colour

Paprika pepper cultivation area by colour

More colours

In 1980 most of paprika peppers were red (50 percent) and green (39 percent). In 2004 red peppers are still the most widely grown, but the share of green peppers has fallen to 18 percent. Other colours became more popular during the last quarter century and their share rose from 11 to 33 percent. Yellow paprika peppers in particular are now widely grown.

Mono-colour crops

In 2004 there were 559 horticultural holdings where paprika peppers were grown. Most of these (90 percent) produced mono-colour crops. Many horticultural farmers only grow red peppers (42 percent). Horticultural farmers who grow only green (22 percent) or only yellow peppers (18 percent) are less common. With 9 percent, holdings where only other colours are grown are even rarer. The remaining 52 growers of paprika peppers produce various colours.

Paprika pepper cultivation area by horticultural holding

Paprika pepper cultivation area by horticultural holding

Cultivation area

There is a striking similarity between the average size of the cultivation area and the colour of paprika peppers. The 52 holdings where various colours are grown are among the largest; on average, they cover 3.3 ha. Among mono-colour enterprises yellow pepper growers are the largest (they average 2.5 ha). The smallest holdings (on average 1.5 ha) are those where only green peppers are grown.

Average harvest rate per square metre

Average harvest rate per square metre

Bumper harvests

The colour of peppers affects the yields, which have risen appreciably over the last two decades. The annual yield of green paprika peppers approximates 29 kg per square metre, whereas for other colours, it is about 25.5 kg. In 1980 the average paprika pepper harvest was 15 kg per square metre, as against 26 kg in 2004.
Production soared in the period 1980-1990; the annual increase per square metre was approximately 4 percent. Subsequently, the average increase levelled off. Currently, the annual increase is about 1 percent. This is due to declining possibilities to implement technological improvements and a reduction in green pepper cultivation.

Nelet Kuipers