KARACHI - Karachi University (KU) has potential to assist Pakistani government to increase production and export of Red Chillies, as the country is facing drastic decline in the export of the said commodity due to the presence of cancerous aflatoxins in red chilli. The red chilli export has declined from nearly Rs1.127 billion (during 2003-2004) to Rs846 million after European Union imposed ban on import of the product from Pakistan due to aflatoxins which is produced by fungus, namely Aspergillus flavus. Prof Dr Abid Hasnain, senior food scientist of KU Food Science Department said this while talking to The Nation on Tuesday. He said that the presence of the said cancerous toxic in the chilli has been considered a real threat to the health of populations, while huge export has been damaged owing to this problem. He said that the use of modern equipment and techniques in the storage procedure could help the authorities concerned to over come on the problem. The old storage system cause fungus in the chillies, as chillies stored in open air for many days while the said fungus take three days to infect the crop, he said. However, he mentioned, Karachi University's food science department could assist the authorities concerned in term of giving expert suggestions to avoid the problem and prevent the exports from further decline; while the university could also design a scientific equipment 'Solar Dryer' for storage purposes of the crop. He said, "Red chillies grow in Kunri town in district Umer Kot of Sindh, which is considered as the largest production centre for red chillies in Asia. Red chilli is also considered as the main cash crop of Sindh, although a post-harvest fungal disease aflatoxin has extremely damaged this business of billions. China, Pakistan, Morocco, Mexico and Turkey are considered major producer of chillies (fresh chillies, stalk less chillies, green chillies, chilli powder and also as oleoresin) after India, however countries, including Gulf States, the US, Canada, Sri Lanka, the UK, Singapore and Germany are foremost importers of red chillies from Pakistan." It is pertinent to mention here that capsaicin is a safe and effective analgesic agent in the management of arthritis pain, herpes zoster-related pain, diabetic neuropathy, postmastectomy pain, and headaches.