BY BIKO THINDWA
The African bird’s eye chillies are among the most pungent varieties of pepper in the world. Malawi is one of the leading producers of African bird’s eye chillies in the world. Other producers include Ghana, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Malawi’s bird’s eye chillies are highly sought after internationally. The market demands top quality and consistent product.
Exagris Africa Ltd is one of the leading Producers of Bird Eye Chillies. Most of the Bird Eye Chillies is exported to Spain, Italy, South Africa and United Kingdom to Brokers and End Users.
There are specialized brokers in Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Asia who deal with chillies. The European Union, USA, and Japan are the largest markets of high pungency dried chillies.
Currently Exagris is producing two varieties of Bird’s Eye Chillie, Malaga and Bateleur. The Bateleur Variety is being grown under a contract with Nando’s of South Africa.
Among others, Bird’s Eye Chillies are used as spices mostly as powder or sauce, pharmaceuticals, and organic pest control spray.
For Culinary Use, the scale to measure how hot a spice is is internationally known as Wilbur Scoville – the name of its inventor and is converted into Scoville Heat Units (SHU). To know how hot a chili pepper is, proves useful to define its possible uses, especially in food industry.
Another Key Export Crop for Exagris is Paprika. Currently Exagris exports its Paprika to South Africa.
Paprika is used as a flavouring ingredient and a colorant in the food industry. The colour is measured in ASTAs, which are units defined by the American Spice Trade Association.
There are two paprika products that are produced: paprika oil (Oleoresins) and paprika powder, all of which contain the rich orange/red colour.
Over 90% of the paprika products are used in the food industry, while the remainder is used in pharmaceutical/Cosmetic products. I am sure some cosmetic products like lipsticks end up being used by our ladies here in Malawi.
All the products produced at this plant have a rich orange/red colour; after all, paprika is a natural dye and it is used worldwide because of the colour it brings to foods and other kinds of products as opposed to artificial colours.
Apart from these two Key crops, Exagris has just started exporting Seed Groundnuts, Seed Soya, Seed Pigeon and Seed Beans to Zambia and Mozambique.