Used in making most Nigerian food. There is hardly a complete meal without the use of at least one variety of pepper. This makes pepper production an important area of crop production in Nigeria.

Pepper belongs to the Family Solanaceae, which is an important group of vegetables.

Pepper generally originates from Central America. Capsicum annum is from middle America (Mexico) while Capsicum frutescens is from the northern half of South America to part of Central America and the Caribbean area. Pepper played a significant early role in the development of food in America

FAO statistics estimate world production of capsicum peppers in 2001 at 21.3 million tonnes(t) from a harvested area of 1.6 million hectares (ha) (average yield 13.4 t/ha); China is the largest producer with 10 million t, followed by Mexico (1.9 million t) and Turkey (1.5 million t). India is probably erroneously represented with only 50,000 t. Production in tropical Africa is estimated at 1 million t, with Nigeria (715,000 t from 90,000 ha) and Ghana (270,000 t from 75,000 ha) as the largest producers. Data are presented for only 13 out of the 47 countries of tropical Africa. (The statistics for Africa does not include home farms and garden production)

The price of pepper in Nigeria has been subjected to seasonal fluctuation over time. In South-Western Nigeria, pepper has been massively conveyed from Northern Nigeria despite the fact that it is also grown in the South West. This indicates that there is a great and urgent need for an increase in pepper production in Nigeria, especially in South-Western Nigeria.


  • Pepper is used as a spice in many dishes.
  • Pepper is used as decoration in food, to add flavor and colour
  • It is also used to provide relief for several ailments. It can be found in topical creams that are intended to reduce muscle pain, inflammation, and itching.
  • Peppers can act as a heart stimulant which regulates blood flow and strengthens the arteries, possibly reducing heart attacks.
  • It has soothing effects on the digestive system, offers relief from symptoms of colds, sore throats, and fevers, circulation, especially for cold hands and feet, and as a hangover remedy.
  • Fresh peppers are an excellent source of calcium and vitamin C.
  • It can be used to regulate blood sugar
  • Hot chili peppers might help fight prostate cancer. 



There are wide varieties of pepper all over the world but many of them are produced based on regions and environmental conditions. Varieties common in pepper production in Nigeria include:

  1. Bird Peppers – Ata Were (Capiscum Frutescens)

This is a very hot variety of pepper, it is short in length.  Both ripe and unripe bird peppers are used for making pepper sauces. It is used while unripe, usually still green in colour for preparing pepper sauce for unpolished rice (locally known as Ofada rice). The sauce is richly garnished with locust beans.

  1. Cayenne pepper or red pepper—Sombo (Capsicum frutescens)

This is a very long and thin variety. It is a bit mild as regards to its hotness.

  1. Atarodo (Capiscum Annum)

This is the most common pepper variety in the Nigerian market. The smaller sized ones taste hotter than the bigger sized ones.

  1. Tatase (Capiscum Annum)

This pepper variety is usually very mild in taste and very red in colour. It could be added to food or sauce as a colouring agent to bring out a bright red colour and sometimes to reduce hotness.