Sweet orange farmers get a taste of success

- RAJ KUMAR KARKI, SINDHULI

Feb 20, 2016-

Farmer Arjun Prasad Koirala, a local farmer of Baseshwor Basheswor VDC-6, is in an upbeat mood this year as he has earned Rs200,000 by selling his sweet orangeharvests of sweet oranges. 

In the past, when he was growing millet, he would make at most , Koirala’s income amounted to Rs 5,000 annually when he used to cultivate millet. Today, his income has swelled several-fold after he started commercial cultivation of sweet oranges. “I sold 35,000 pieces of sweet oranges this year,” he said, adding that his the increased earnings had boosted helped improve his living standard of living. “I am fully satisfied with my income now.” 

Sweet oranges have a distinctive sweet taste and are rich in Vitamin C and minerals. They are considered to be a special fruit of Nepal as they are rarely found in other countries. 

Although, the sweet orange output was downhas dropped this year, growers are happy as they received good prices for their product. Koirala’s sweet orange harvestoutput has declined too, dropped as well but he is still he is happy. “This year, I sold sweet oranges for at Rs5 a piece, as compared to Rs3 last year.” 

Encouraged by the increase in his earnings, he plans to double the size of his sweet orange grove. Koirala has also earned Rs 100,000 by sellingfrom oranges this year. 

As the government and non-governmental organizations have been promoting the cultivation of supporting for growing citrus fruits, farmers have been attracted towards commercial farming. 

Not only Koirala, aA large number of farmers like Koirala have made earned decenta handsome  incomes from sweet oranges this year. 

Another farmer Begh Bahadur Ale Magar also earned Rs 200,000. “The sSweet orange harvest was small production has dropped this year, but due to a rise in prices, I earnedsucceeded to make  a good income this year tooas well,” he said. Magar said that he hadve repaid all his loans with the money from the income and planneds to expand his farm. After a juice factory was opened in Sindhuli, farmers have been encouraged to produce sweet oranges as they don’t have any difficultyies findingon markets and getting good prices. 

This year, Sindhuli district earned Rs300 million from its harvest of 15,000 tonnes ofrom sweet oranges, said the district District Sweet Orange Cooperatives Association. The district produced 15,000 tonnes of the fruit. 

“Due to the hailstorms, production has been hitaffected to some extent,” said Nirmal Kumar Ramtel, president of the association. There are 34 cooperatives engagedassociated w inith growing and processing sweet oranges production and processing in the district. They have Mmore than 3,000 farmers among their membership are involved in the cooperatives. 

Ramtel said that sweet orange farming wasis expected to double inby five years due to the increasing numbers of farmers going for towards commercial production. 

Sindhuli is the largesttop sweet orange producering district in the country, followed by Ramechhap and Dhankuta districts. Sweet orange plants start to bearyield fruit from the fifth year and they stabilize around the eighth year. 

In the fifth year, each tree yields around 5 kg of the fruit. The output starts increasing and reaches around 60-70 kg from the eighth year. The trees keep producing fruits for 15-20 years. 

Sweet oranges normally take 240-280 days to mature. In Sindhuli, harvesting of the fruit starts in October and lasts till January.According to a survey conducted by the Agribusiness Promotion and Marketing Development Directorate of the Ministry of Agricultural Development, sweet oranges are cultivated on 1,077 hectares in Sindhuli. The survey shows that 25 percent of the output is consumed at the household level while the rest is sold.

Meanwhile, a One -Village, -One -Product programme has been launched in four VDCs of Sindhuli district, namely Ratanchura, Baseshwor, Tinkanya and Jalakanya to promote cultivation and handle marketing.

 

Published: 20-02-2016 09:27

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