Chili is an important crop which is mostly grown in the province of Sindh, especially at Kunnri. More than 45% of the chili crop grown in Pakistan is produced in and around Kunnri, District Umerkot. The major variety of chili grown here is Dandi cut, which is known for its pungency, color and taste. This variety occupies a prominent position in the local as well as export market. However the dried chilies in Pakistan face several problems at present, which include but are not limited to:
- Presence of mold
- High moisture content,
- Aflatoxin and rodent droppings
The need for this project was mainly felt because of the fact that the chilies in Pakistan, at present are contaminated with various moulds and bacteria, including the highly toxic substance, aflatoxin. The problems primarily start with poor harvesting and drying techniques. When chilies are picked from the plant, the stem is pulled off too, leaving an opening in the pod, which lets in air, moisture and contaminations. Chilies have a thick waxy skin that prevents rapid sun drying. Sun drying takes 7-15 days to bring the moisture down to acceptable levels. The drying temperature should be below 60 ºC. A final moisture content of about 10% is ideal as moisture contents above 11% encourage mould growth and below 4% causes excessive color loss. To slow color loss, which occurs naturally during storage, it is important the keep the product cool and out of light. Dehydration on the other hand brings moisture levels in chilies to 7-10% in a day without causing any color loss.
Technology: This proposed unit with modern mechanized dehydration machines will produce clean and bacteria free dehydrated red chillies of various verities as per the standards and according to the Phyto-sanitary regulations.
Location: The unit would be located in or near red chillies producing and trading clusters such as Districts Umerkot, Mirpurkhas, Hyderabad, Sanghar and Badin in Sindh or in mid-tier cities of other provinces where access to raw material is easy.
Product: The unit would dehydrate red chilies of various varieties such as Dandicut and Hybrid chilies, bringing down the moisture level up to 7-8% and preventing the production and spread of aflatoxin.
Target Market: Dehydrated vegetables are used as industrial raw materials by a wide range of food manufacturing industries and also used as culinary vegetables by hotels, industrial canteens and in household. These are also used in armed forces rations and emergency rations. There is a high demand for aflatoxin free chilies in the international market. Although the local market is relatively indifferent to the aflatoxin content, but major food processors are willing to pay a slightly higher price for aflatoxin free product, as they can recover their costs through exports.
Employment Generation: The proposed project will provide direct employment to 18 people. Financial analysis shows that the unit shall be profitable from the very first year of operation.
Production Process of Dehydrated Red Chili in Pakistan
In order to facilitate dehydration and to preserve original qualities during dehydration and storage the following process takes place:
- Washing is recommended to remove the dust and impurities
- Cleaned fresh chilies are loaded on conveyor
- Manual sorting is done and damaged chilies are removed on conveyor belt.
- Dehydration takes place in dehydration chamber for a specified time period, usually 4-6 hours depending upon the product specification.
- Dehydrated chilies are collected at the end of dehydration chamber / tunnel.
- Chopping or grinding is done if required.
- Packing of Chilies in Bags.
The facility will be equipped with a dehydration system with a total input capacity of 11 tons red chilies per day. Initial Capacity utilization would be 50% therefore 5.5 tones wet chilies will be dried to 1.6 tons of chilies during twelve hours operation. The annual chilies dehydration capacity of the plant will be 4,000 tones. Natural Gas is recommended for heating the boiler as a source fuel. Wood/Coal can be used as an alternative fuel to dehydrate chilies in case of natural gas is not available.
Factors for Success of Red Chili Production Plant in Pakistan
The main critical success factors that affect the decision to invest in the red chili business setup in Pakistan are:
- Improved Quality of Product
- Potential for Export
- High demand in local food industry
- Business and Cluster Development in Rural Economy
- Proximity to Chilies growing areas
- Availability of Raw materials
- Availability of Skilled resources
- Availability of consistent & uninterrupted supply of utilities
- Availability of fresh chilies at economical rates
- Advance contracts with the buyers & exporters for dehydrated products
Pakistan produces almost 147,6641 tons of chilies per year and exports around 2,000 tons of whole and powdered red chilies from an exportable surplus of 30,000 – 40,000 tones. There is a high demand for aflatoxin free chilies in the international market. Although the local market is relatively indifferent to the aflatoxin content, but major food processors are willing to pay a slightly higher price for aflatoxin free product, as they can recover their costs through exports. Pakistan’s chili exports are currently on the rise and chilies exports from the country are mostly to Sri Lanka, UAE, Saudi Arabia, USA, Canada, Mexico, Bangladesh, Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain and Egypt. However these exports are still a fraction of our exportable surplus and many avenues are still closed for our exports.
Customers of Dehydrated Red Chili
Dehydrated vegetables are used as industrial raw materials by a wide range of food manufacturing industries and also used as culinary vegetables by hotels, industrial canteens and in household. These are also used in armed forces rations and emergency rations. There is a high demand for aflatoxin free chilies in the international market. In short, the market sectors which have demand for dehydrated vegetables are as follows:
- Catering industry and armed forces mess.
- Dried soup manufacturers.
- Other food manufactures.
- Retail trade in dehydrated vegetables
- Foreign buyers/traders
- Garlic powder has utility in certain pharmaceuticals
Machinery of Red Chili Dehydration Unit
- Sorting Conveyors (18 ‘X2’)
- Washing Tanks (6’x2-1/2×2-1/2′)
- Rotary Washing Machine-ss3
- Peeling Machine
- Chopping Machine-S.S.
- Dicing Machine
- Blanching / Sulphiting Tank
- Steam Blancher, Trolley Load (3′ x3′ x6′) M.S
- Twin Tunnel Dehydrator
- Drying Trays Aluminum Frame
- Finishing Chambers (13’x3.5’x7′) – Complete
- Drying Trays-Finishing Bin
- Trolleys-Finishing Bin-M.S
- Grinding Mill-S.S
- Threshing Machine
- Working Tables S.S (10’x4”)
- Storage Vessels (10×4)
- Plate form Scale 200 M.T capacity
- Steam Jacketed Kettles S.S Capacity 100 kg
- Boiler (Steam Generator)
- Laboratory Equipment
- Storage Conveyors SS
- Rotto Sealer Machine
- Poly Sealer-Paddle
- Exhaust Fans
- Generator 100 kVA
Investment Requirements for Red Chili Dehydration Plant in Pakistan
Investment required to start red chili business in Pakistan is Rs. 32 million (appx). All the figures in this financial model have been calculated for estimated sales of Rs. 116 million in the year one. The capacity utilization during year one is worked out at 50 % with 05 % increase in subsequent years up to the maximum capacity utilization of 75 %. The internal rate of return, payback period and net present value of the venture can be studied in the pre-feasibility study of red chili dehydration business in Pakistan by SMEDA.