To a huge number of people around the globe, chili is a delicacy. However, most people have not stopped to ask just where this spice came from. Chili is a fruit of plants which are members of the Nightshade family. To narrow it down, its genus is that of the more popular capsicum. Capsaicin and similar compounds mainly cause the "hotness" that comes after eating it.
Astonishingly, humans have been eating them since 7500 BCE. Recent studies show that they were first domesticated in the Americas, particularly in Mexico. Not surprisingly, Peru, a country in the Americas, would have the highest diversity levels in terms of cultivation in the world. This is because most of the domesticated species were cultivated and consumed during the pre-Columbian time. Bolivia has the most extensive wild chili diversity in the world that are eaten.
That today Asia is a significant player in the chili sector can be attributed to trade in the past primarily by the Portuguese and Arabs. It is important to note that it was a valuable commodity because the Asian community embraced it very well. So well, in fact, it has become the world’s largest producer of chili as of 2014 in relation to other players.
World Production per Country
As per 2014 world production statistics, the total global produce of chili was in the region of 33.2 million tonnes. This figure is inclusive of both peppers and fresh green chili. As previously stated, the Asian region dominated this production with nearly eighty percent of the world’s total production.
China is on the top of the list producing around 16.1 million tonnes of chili in 2014. To put that into perspective, China produced roughly 48% of the total global production that year alone. Compared to the closest competitor, Mexico, China produced at least five times the amount produced by Mexico which was a paltry 2.7 million tonnes.
Coming in at third was Turkey with a total production of 2.1 million tonnes. Following closely behind by Indonesia with 1.9 million tonnes and then again by India with 1.5 million tonnes. This further puts into perspective just how dominant Asia is. India is a curious case because 32% of the 1.5 million tonnes it produced was composed of dried chilies. This places it at the top of the table regarding dried chili production in the world in 2014.
Closing the top list at position six and seven are Spain and the United States with a production of 1.1 million tonnes and 0.9 million tonnes respectively. The case of Spain should not be alarming because of trade and obviously because of the spicy nature of their venerated and delicious cuisine.
China has dominated the market. A simple reason for this is its huge population which would equate to more people growing it. Other benefits like foreign exchange come in as well from the exportation of the desirable, albeit “hot”, fruit.