King Chilly Festival held at Puilwa

The 1st ever King Chilly Festival (Chaiberatsi Ngyi) was held at Puilwa New village, Peren on 7th October 2022 with United Democratic Alliance Chairman & Former Chief Minister of Nagaland, T.R. Zeliang as the special guest. The event was organized by Puilwa Lui Council.

TR Zeliang, speaking at the program, said King Chilli is a native crop of Nagaland and is believed to have originated from the Zeliangrong area. This Chilli is so famous particularly among the Zeliangrong people that it has so many different names: Chaibe-ra-tsi (Zeme dialect), Chaha-ra-tsi (Zeme dialect), Chai-thiu-rasi (Liangmai dialect), Saptingsai-su (Rongmei dialect), etc. Also known as Naga Mircha or Raja Mircha in Nagamese and Ghost Pepper in English. The best quality of Naga Mircha originates from Peren District though it is grown in other areas too. Just recently, in July 2021, a consignment of Naga Mircha sourced from the Tening area of Peren District was exported to London, UK via Guwahati by air for the first time which speaks volumes about the superior characteristics of Naga Mircha grown in Peren District.

Zeliang said that King Chilli has medicinal values and Naga Mircha received Geographical Indication (GI) recognition in 2008 and is often regarded as among the hottest Chillies in the world. Chaiberatsi is among the world’s hottest Chilli and is constantly in the top five in the list of the world’s hottest Chillies.

In Peren District, it is widely believed that the ideal place for cultivating Naga chilli is across bamboo and banana plantations where bamboo/banana fields are cut down and burned before cultivation (or slash and burn cultivation). This method of cultivating King Chillies is popular in Peren District Hill areas and areas under the Tening Sub-Division which are famous for the supply of King Chillies to Dimapur and Kohima and outside the State.

The King Chillies coming from Peren District are considered to be of the best quality with superior taste, aroma, flavour, and pungency as compared to others coming from other areas. Apart from fresh and dried form, there are various ways in which these Chillies can be marketed, in the form of Powder, Pickle, Sauce, etc. As such, there is huge scope for business ventures for the local people of Peren District. Zeliang also added, that just recently, in September 2022, a King Chilli Festival was organized at Seiyama Village under Chiphobozou Block, Kohima District in collaboration with Horticulture Department.

He also spoke on the importance of the World Bank and said that World Bank adopted only two Districts in Nagaland (Peren and Tuensang) for the scheme Nagaland Rural Livelihood Project.

He said that the concept of NRLP was very simple-to create a Federal System of cooperative societies in every village viz. Self Help Groups covered by Unemployed Youths, Women Self Help Group, and Hangraima under the Apex society (VC or VDB) for loan roster system with seed money provided by World Bank. Many of the villages have lost the seed money and are back to square one whereas villages like Mhainamtsi village are still operating very well.

He said it was time for all to focus on developing areas that can generate income and improve the economy of the people.

Zeliang also added that the Mpai-Puilwa area road connectivity needs to be enhanced.

A short speech was also delivered by MLA & Engineer, Picto Shohe, and Retd. IAS, Kelei Zeliang. Picto also spoke on various developmental activities carried out and lauded the Puilwa Lui for organizing such a big event.

The festival was officially declared open by T.R Zeliang.

Other activities of the programme included the opening of stalls and selling of organic vegetables and king chillies, others included King Chilly eating competition and indigenous games.

President Puilwa Lui Council, Chizam Kenrang delivered the keynote address while Women Organization, Puilwa New presented cultural songs and dances while the programme was compered by Reluihei Nza.

The officials were accompanied by Police, District Administration, Public leaders, and Officers from various departments.

The closing programme of the festival will be graced by Executive Engineer (PHED) WSSO, Ichirang Zeliang on 8th October 2022.

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