Did you know? Contracted Zimbabwean smallholders are set to profit from growing world-famous Tabasco chilis, a new commercial crop. USAID has been working with Zimbabwean chili farmers since the 2011/2012 season to grow the burning hot chilis that make America’s famous Tabasco sauce. The seeds for all the peppers grown for Tabasco originate at the home of Tabasco on Avery Island. Peppers used in the sauce are grown in Zimbabwe, as well as other countries in Africa and South America. Harvesting and processing of Tabasco chili by smallholder farmers in Nyakomba irrigation scheme in Nyanga District of Manicaland started this week with farmers picking their first crop of 2,121 kilos.
Growers delivered the chilis to a small-scale processing plant at the scheme run by Zim-AIED partner Better Agriculture, who will export the processed chillies to the McIlhenny Company in the USA to be used as an ingredient in their world-famous Tabasco sauces. With Zim-AIED support, the growers planted a month earlier and applied inputs more efficiently than last season. Consequently, harvesting started as planned at the end of January and yields and production will increase significantly over the 2012 level.