Capsicum Farming in Polyhouse- Cost, Yield & Profit

Capsicum is the second most grown vegetable under protected cultivation after tomato. Capsicum farming in polyhouse is a very profitable and popular agribusiness in India. Capsicum grown under protected cultivation has better quality and round the year production.

Crop Overview

Scientific NameCapsicum annuum
Common NameBell pepper, Paprika, Sweet pepper or Shimla mirch
SoilWell drained, porous, loamy or sandy loamy soil with high organic content and pH range between 6.0-7.0 is ideal.
ClimateIdeal temperature is 25-30 degree C at day and 18-20 degree C at night with relative 50-60% humidity.
Plant PopulationGenerally a plant density of 2.5-3.5 plants/m2 is followed in polyhouses which accommodates 10,000-14,000 capsicum plants per acre.
HarvestHarvesting starts after 55-60 days for green capsicum and 75-90 days for red and yellow capsicum after transplanting. Economic life lasts around 8-10 months.
Yield3-4 kg/plant or 30-50 tonnes/acre in a polyhouse.
Crop TypePolyhouse farming
Capsicum farming in polyhouse
Capsicum farming in polyhouse

Demand of Capsicum

Green capsicum has become common and easily available across India but red and yellow colour capsicum has high demand in urban areas and hotels and restaurants. Due to vitamins, health benefits and taste capsicum has high demand and a growing market in India and abroad. 

Colour capsicum has a growing market in urban areas. The high value crop has a promising export market. Major export markets for Indian capsicum are USA, UK, China, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Afghanistan, UAE, etc.

Capsicum has emerged as one of the most demanding vegetables all over the world. Coloured capsicums boast increasing demand in metropolises and high potential to export overseas, if the quality standard is maintained. Which is why, more and more farms in India nowadays have started to switch over to greenhouse based cultivation. The well-protected environment of a greenhouse is ideally the best method to continue growing capsicum throughout the year while adhering to the desirable temperature, relative humidity, and optimum sanitation. 

Cultivation Method of Capsicum Under Greenhouse

Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are the leading states producing capsicum under protected cultivation in India. Below are the steps to cultivate capsicum under protected cultivation.

Capsicum farming in polyhouse in India

1. Selection of Capsicum Variety

Most hybrids of capsicum grow green in colour and afterward turn into red, yellow, or orange at maturity depending on the type of its crossbreed. Farmers should choose the variety which gives the highest yield, grows faster, has self protective features and has local market demand. Most popular capsicum hybrid species commercially grown in India are Bomby, Indra, Swarna, Orobella while Bachata, Mohlnl, Arka Gaurav and Natasha.

  1. Bomby: Fruits are grown dark green, glossy with solid walls. With 3-4 lobes they’re generally found having a length of 11-12 cm, diameter of 10 cm and weighing 120-150 grams. The variety is highly self-protective and perfect for long distance distribution.  
  2. Swarna: Their glossy dark green colour turns into vivid yellow that makes Swarna exceptional in its category. With a long blocky fruit size, they boast extremely strong walls and are less vulnerable to environmental factors. With an average weight of 200-250 gms, they’re fit for growing in greenhouses as well in open land. 
  3. Indra: They grow medium tall in size (length 10-12 cm, diameter 10 cm) with 3-4 lobes and 170 gram average weight. Have steady enduring power and grow in abundance. The fruits have high demand in the global market. 
  4. Orobelle: The blocky hybrid turns yellow colour from green as they become mature. With medium walls they grow roughly cube in dimension and weigh 150 grams on an average. They’re delicate in nature and need high protection plus cold conditions, which is why growing them in greenhouses is ideal.  

2. Nursery Rising

Buying quality seedlings from reputable nurseries is easy and the best option for transplanting but farmers may also opt for growing seedlings from seeds. Pro-trays that come with 98 blocks of 1.5 x 2 cm are ideal for growing healthy seedlings. Seedlings are nurtured inside the greenhouse. Trays should be prepared with vermicompost and sand in 1:1 ratio or well-sterilised coco peat as an ideal nursery bed for sowing seeds and growing seedlings.

Seeds should be sown in each cell keeping 0.5 cm depths and to be covered with coco-peat. They need minimal watering on a daily basis. It takes nearly 5-7 days for seeds to germinate. Spraying seedlings with Acephate @ 0.75ml/ litre of water helps avoid infestation. To meet the need of phosphorus and nitrogen, drench the nursery bed with mono-ammonium phosphate (12:61:0) after 2 weeks and (19:19:19) @3g/L prior to transplanting. It takes 30-35 for seedlings to be ready for transplantation in Greenhouse bed. 

3. Bed preparation/ Sterilisation

Land inside the greenhouse should be ploughed thoroughly to get the soil fine tilth. Mix the soil with farmyard manure (Vermi-compost) @20kg per sq. mt. and accordingly prepare raised beds measuring 80 cm x 40 cm keeping a working space of 50 cm among every two beds. 

Drench the beds with formaldehyde 0.4% @4litres/ to avoid soil-borne plague and then keep it wrapped with polythene sheets for 5 days. After removal of the polythene, beds are required to be raked for a few days letting the soil discharge the trapped vapours of formaldehyde within the soil before transplanting. Wearing gloves and masks is a great choice to foster sterilisation. 

Two weeks before transplanting, prepare a blend of 200 Kg powdery neem cake together with bio agents Pseudomonas lilacinus and Trichoderma Harzianum which should be kept in a gunny bags and after 10 days that should be again mixed with 600 kg neem cake and applied evenly to the beds/ per acre. Equally, before transplanting of seedlings, spray them with imidacloprid @0.2 ml/ litre and  chlorothalonil @ 1 gm/litre that works great as a pesticide.

4. Fertigation 

Fertigation which is a form of injecting fertilisers has been practised extensively incorporated with irrigation courses in commercial agriculture and horticulture fields. A total dose of N:P(2):O(5) of 150-180 kg should be introduced/ hectare of the bed land in the form of water soluble fertiliser throughout the crop growing cycle of 6-8 months. Undertake the procedure starting from the 3rd week following plantation and consider providing 2.5-4g/ to continually maintain supply of extra nutrients that plants need. 

5. Mulching/Spacing and Planting 

An effective way to retain soil moisture, soil fertility and lessen weed growth; mulching the beds with 30-100 micron polyethylene (non-recycled) is a consistent idea. Keep a spacing of 45×35 sq cm and accordingly prepare holes of nearly 6 cm diameter enabling you to undertake scientific and hassle-free transplanting of seedlings into those holes after taking them out from each cell of pro-trays. 

Seedlings ageing 30-35 days should be used for transplanting and during the process of re-planting be cared enough to ensure there is no damage to the roots. All you have to do is put them into the mulched holes and after transplanting, they should be soaked with copper oxychloride/ copper hydroxide solution @ 25-30 ml per plant. Watering the mulched beds during morning or afternoon continually for 7 days is vital after planting to get them adapted with the greenhouse setting and avoid mortality. 

6. Pruning/ Training/ Irrigation  

Pruning of capsicum plants needs to be carried out once every week after 3 weeks of planting. While every node of the plant splits in two, producing one strong and one weak branch, the aim of pruning should be to retain the stronger stem and eliminate the weaker one. Use sharp cutting tools while pruning that leads to bigger and superior grades of fruits as well as higher productivity.  

The whole idea of training is to enhance the ability of stems to bear the weight of capsicum. The practice helps not only to maximise output but also in getting the vegetables without any scratch or damage. The main stem should be tied with plastic strings to train in conjunction GI wire netting to which the section of the stem remains attached. Providing the growing seedlings with drip irrigation (2-4 litres of water/ should be done depending on the seasonal need.   

Pest and Disease Management

Pest/ DiseaseSymptomsManagement
MitesInfested by larvae that sucks sap from leaves, buds, and fruits as well as feed on them causing curly leaves, reduced fruit size, and hinder plant growth.Discard the pest injured plant parts and spray Neem soap (8-10 g/L) or Pongamia oil (5-8 ml/L) or Wettable sulphur (2 ml/L) or chlorfenapyr (1 ml/ L) etc. 
AphidsAdult aphids and nymphs consume juice from leaf veins which leads to destroying leaves, reducing plant growth and lessening yield.Have an intense eye on aphids’ infestation and consider spraying Imidacloprid (0.5ml/L), Neem soap (8-10 gm/L) or dimethoate (2 ml/L).
ThripsInfestation sucks leaf juice resulting in reduced development and curl of leaves. Obstruction of nutrient and water absorption by the plant tolls on plant health and yield as well. Discard affected leaves, buds, flowers or fruits instantly; Keep the areas clean with sterilised water and spray Imidacloprid (0.5ml/L) or Neem seeds ( kernel) extract 4%, or fipronil (1 ml/L) or acephate (1.5g/L). 
Fruit borerFruit borers are extremely harmful pests that lay eggs on leaves, fruits and flowers while the birth of nymphs feed on leaves and fruits and result in high-scale destruction of the produce quality. Eliminate and destroy nymphs including the eggs which can be easily identifiable. Spray the leaves and fruits with thiodicarb (1 ml/L) or chlorofenfur (1.5 ml/L) or carbaryl (3 gm/L) or fipronil (1 ml/L) or indoxacarb. 
NematodesNematodes are other scary pests for gardeners for their devastating effect on crops. Apart from yellowing the leaves, they cause reduction of leaf size and fruits. They can be observed on the roots of the plants generally found in big nodes packed with plenty of nematodes.Given that, nematodes are greedy to solanaceous types of crops, it would be the best choice to rotate cropping with non-solanaceous crops such as sweet corn, marigold, cabbage to dodge nematodes. Equally, induce bio-pesticides like Neem cake @ 900 kg/ acre 5 days prior to planting beds and apply carbofuran granules @ 25kg /acre during the course of planting. Remain vigilant to ensure if any further infestation occurs particularly after 2/3 cycles of cropping. 
Bacterial wiltingInvade the base of seedlings which automatically causes drying, drooping, and dying of the child plant. Often such infection comes from nursery or during transplanting. Apart from maintaining absolute hygiene practices in the nursery and in the greenhouse, consider drenching the plant bases with carbendazim (1 gm/L) or copper oxychloride @ 305-50 ml/plant.
Powdery mildewdisplays with yellow tiny spots all over the surface of leaves and resemble spraying of powder which leads to drying/ dropping of leaves and law quality produces. Mix Neem oil (7ml/L) and sulphur WDG-80 (2g/L) and spray. Also drenching leaves with hexaconazole (0.5ml/L) or azoxystrobin (0.5ml/L) or flusilazole (0.5ml/L) works effectively.
PhytophthoraOccurs during flowering and fruiting causing tiny oily spots on leaf surface while blackening or decaying the plants. Once attacked, most plants die within 2-3 days. It can harm plants epidemically that are grown in net houses during high humidity and downpour and cultivators must be careful to save plants with different measures.Try to go for poly-house instead of net houses. If observed, spray azoxystrobin (0.5ml/L) or copper hydroxy chloride (3 gm/L) or metalaxyl MZ (2 gm/L) . 

Harvesting and Yield of Capsicum

Harvesting starts at different stages for different coloured capsicums. Typical harvesting turnover time from their transplantations are as follows-

  • Green capsicum: 55 to 60 days 
  • Yellow capsicum: 70 to 80 days 
  • Red capsicum: 80 to 90 days 

Harvesting should be done with due care without causing any harm to the plant, flowers and budding fruits. Morning is the best harvesting time and can be continued for 3-4 days. Average yield is found to be 80-100 tons per acre in polyhouse opposed to 20-40 tons under the traditional open field system.. Capsicum is also known as bell pepper, paprika, sweet pepper or Shimla mirch. In the open field cultivation, green capsicum can be grown in the winter season with proper climatic conditions. In its 4-5 months crop duration a yield of 8-15 tonnes/acre can be achieved. Green and coloured capsicum can be grown under shade net houses and polyhouses. 32-40 tonnes/acre of yield can be achieved with a crop duration of 8-10 months. Yields from polyhouses are 20% higher than shade net houses but shade net houses are cheaper to build and maintain. 

Post Harvest Management

Harvested capsicums should be kept under shade for necessary grading and packaging. Good quality marketable fruits should be assorted and to be cleaned with soft dry clothes to discard powdery residues of pesticides, droplets of water or derbies, if any. 

1. Grading

Harvested capsicums are sorted as per grades for better marketing and profitability. Selected fruits should have uniformity in terms of their colour, maturity, size, and shape and are free from all kinds of decay, defective spots, or fungicide residues while packing as per market demand and transportation need.

Standard grades for capsicums

AFruits having 3-4 lobes and weighing 150+ grams
BFruits with 2-3 lobes and weighing less than 150 grams

2. Packaging and Storing

Consider maintaining a 7-8 degree temperature (not more or less) and a relative humidity of 90-95% in the storage place to keep up the optimum standard of fruits. This should be carefully noted that capsicum must not be stored together with fruits like tomato, papayas, or mangos, papayas to protect them from ripening that tax on your revenue.

A Sample Capsicum Cultivation Project Under Greenhouse

This is a sample project on colour capsicum cultivation under a naturally ventilated polyhouse. The area of cultivation under the polyhouse is considered 4000 sq.m.(~1 acre ). Planting density of 3 plants/m2 will be followed i.e. 12,000 plants/acre. The duration of the crop in the polyhouse is 8-10 months.

Cost of seedlings is considered Rs. 12/plant and average wholesale selling price of colour capsicum at mandi is considered Rs. 60/kg.

a. Income

Item1st Year2nd Year3rd Year4th Year5th Year
Yield per plant (kg)44444
Yield per acre per year (kg)48,00048,00048,00048,00048,000
Total Income28,80,00028,80,00028,80,00028,80,00028,80,000

(Amount in Rs.)

b. Expenditure

Item1st Year2nd Year3rd Year4th Year5th Year
1. Cultivation
Preparation of raised beds with red soil, sand, FYM, rice husk, etc.3,80,00022,50022,50022,50022,500
Planting material1,44,0001,44,0001,44,0001,44,0001,44,000
Fertiliser, manure and pesticide2,00,0002,00,0002,00,0002,00,0002,00,000
Electricity and water1,00,0001,00,0001,00,0001,00,0001,00,000
Trellising accessories20,0002,0002,0002,0002,000
2. Other Expenses
Total Expenditure12,46,0008,70,5008,70,5008,70,5008,70,500

(Amount in Rs.)

c. Greenhouse Capsicum Cultivation Profit

Item1st Year2nd Year3rd Year4th Year5th Year
Total Income28,80,00028,80,00028,80,00028,80,00028,80,000
Total Expenditure12,46,0008,70,5008,70,5008,70,5008,70,500
Net Income16,34,00020,09,50020,09,50020,09,50020,09,500
(Amount in Rs.)

Note: Initial expenditure on setting up the polyhouse, irrigation system and other infrastructure costs are not included in project cost.

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