1.0 Background of the Study
Sweet Peppers (Capsicum annuum L.), also called bell peppers, green pepper, or Pimento, belong to the family Solanaceae (Olarewaju and Showemino, 2006; Kabura, 2008). It is a warm season annual crop when grown in temperate regions. However, it is actually a herbaceous perennial when cultivated in tropical areas, such as its native Latin America. Bell peppers are considered “sweet” since they lack the pungent chemical (capsaicin) present in hot peppers. It is an important vegetable crop all over the world (Peet, 2006) which ranks third in the world vegetable cycle after tomato and onions (Akin Fasoye, 2006). It is estimated that more than 7.5million acres of Capsicum are grown around the world (Peet, 2003) mostly in the tropics and subtropics (Aliyu, 2000) such as Malaysia, East Africa, Central and West Africa, Carribeans and Philippines. The crop is believed to have originated from the southern tropical America’s probably in Mexico where its domestication occurred around 2000BC. In Nigeria green pepper has been grown for many years by peasant farmers in the northern part of the country (Olarewaju and Showemino, 2003). Nigeria is the fifth in the world pepper production (USDA, 2001) with over 630,000metric tonnes (Muhamman and Auwalu, 2009). Green Pepper thrives best in warm climate, where frost is not a problem during the growing seasons. In general, it requires temperatures ranging from 25-35°C (Olalla and Valero, 1994). Peppers thrive in a wide range of soil types, but good drainage is essential. The soil should be worked over to break up large clods and any hardpan that prevents good drainage. A soil pH of 5.5 –7.0 is desirable. Green peppers are less sweet and slightly bitter than yellow, orange, purple or red peppers. The taste of ripe peppers can also vary with growing conditions and post-harvest storage treatment. Green pepper is widely grown in the northern parts of Nigeria as a result of its uses and application which in turns increases demand and consumption of the vegetable. However, the vegetable is considered as medicinal plant in some parts of Nigeria. All these values have led to developing technically-based precision farming of green pepper so as to boost the production in order to match its increasing demand. 1.0.1 Uses of Green pepper
Bell peppers are a delicious vegetable that can be enjoyed either raw or cooked. When served raw, bell peppers have a crisp texture that lends itself to salads and makes a perfect complement to dips. When bell peppers are cooked they take on a smoky, sweetness that enhances many dishes. 1.0.2 Health Benefits
Bell peppers are an outstanding source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. These phytonutrients include flavonoids (luteolin, quercetin, hesperidin) and hydroxycinnamic acids (especially ferulic and cinnamic acids). But the hallmark phytonutrient group found in bell peppers is the carotenoid family, with more than 30 different carotenoids being provided by this vegetable. Included in bell pepper carotenoids are alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Bell peppers are an excellent source of antioxidants vitamin A and C as well as nerve-supportive vitamin B6. Bell peppers are a very good source of heart-healthy fiber, vitamin E, folate, potassium, and vitamin K as well as the enzyme-supportive molybdenum. They are a good source of bone-building manganese and magnesium, energy-producing vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B5. Bell peppers contain very high amounts of vitamin C and Vitamin A. One cup of raw, red bell peppers supplies roughly 290 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C and 105 percent of the RDA for vitamin A (www.wikepedia.com). Bell peppers also contain significant amounts of vitamin B 6 and dietary fiber. 1.0.3 Production of Green Peppers
Pepper are crops that lend themselves to small-scale and part-time farming operations. All pepper plants...