Unit set up to improve orange production
Feb 16, 2017-The government has established an Orange Zone Implementation Unit in the western district of Syangja in a bid to make orange farming more organised and raise production of the fruit.
The unit was established as part of the Rs130-billion Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project, which envisages adopting modern farm techniques to boost productivity and making the country self-reliant in food.
Under the first phase of the programme aimed at making orange farming more organised in Syangja, the fruit will be planted on 500 hectares in Putali Bazaar and Bhirkot municipalities, Arjunchaupari, Aladi and Thuladihi.
In the next 10 years, the unit aims to improve the quality of oranges grown in the district and export the products to different countries across the globe.
To meet these objectives, the unit plans to make use of improved varieties of seeds, protect plants from pests and diseases, use modern agricultural equipment, raise farmers’ access to markets and encourage more people to adopt orange farming.
Also, training will be provided to different farmers’ groups and agricultural cooperatives will be established.
Focus will also be laid on establishing high-tech nurseries, developing small irrigation projects, making modern agricultural equipment available to farmers, providing various services at affordable prices, opening grading and packaging units, and constructing storage units.
“Some of these programmes will commence this year,” said the unit.
Syangja, which contains four municipalities and 53 village development committees (VDCs), is one of the major orange producing districts in Nepal. Apart from six to seven VDCs, all other areas in the district are suitable for orange farming.
Orange farms are spread over 1,270 hectares of land in Syangja. This year, the district produced Rs356.6 million worth of oranges, according to the Syangja District Agricultural Office.
“Syangja’s climate is suitable for orange cultivation. In the next two years, we plan to make the district a super zone for orange production,” said Binod Hamal, head of the Orange Zone Implementation Unit. “In the coming years, the unit will conduct programmes and organise expos to encourage farmers to grow oranges on a commercial level.”
The government has currently earmarked a budget of Rs12.5 million for the unit to roll out its programmes in the district. So far, 1,200 farmers have expressed interest in taking part in the programme.
“We are planning to form a committee comprising those who confirm their participation in the programme. This committee will then implement the programme,” Hamal said.
All these measures are expected to boost exports of the product from the district, which can improve the people’s living standards.
Syangja was all set to export oranges to Tibet, China in 2012. “But the plan fell through because of quality issues,” Hamal said. “We hope that the programme we are running will drastically improve the quality of the oranges grown here.”
Published: 16-02-2017 09:43