Orange production jumps 28pc in Arghakhanchi

- BIRENDRA KC, ARGHAKHANCHI

Mar 14, 2017-

Orange production jumped 28 percent in Arghakhanchi district in the current fiscal year driven by favourable weather conditions and decline in pest attacks.

The district produced oranges worth Rs160 million in the current fiscal year, as against Rs125 million a year ago, according to the District Agricultural Development Office.

“The district witnessed a bumper harvest this year because of favourable weather conditions. Also, pest attacks were lower this year, while number of orange farmers went up due to presence of relatively better market for the product,” Thirlal Gaire, an officer at the District Agricultural Development Office, said.

Orange is cultivated in around 1,500 hectares of land in Arghakhanchi. 

Farmers of Parena, Pokharathok, Arghatosh, Khidim, Mareng, Bhagwati and Hanshapur harvested 7,500 tonnes of oranges during this season. 

Simle of Parena is the leader in terms of orange production in the district. 

“I earned Rs500,000 by selling oranges grown in 300 trees,” said Khagendra Poudel, a farmer from Simle. 

Farmers who earned Rs100,000 by selling oranges in the last season have earned over Rs250,000 this year because of better harvests, according to Poudel. Thaneshwor Pandey, a farmer from Bhagwati, also expressed happiness over income he generated from sales of oranges. Because of higher demand for the fruit throughout the country and better returns, around 300 farmers in Simle have moved from production of cereal crops to orange farming. 

“The training and subsidised seedlings we provided have paid off,” Gaire said, adding, “More and more farmers are embracing orange farming for livelihood because of expansion of road networks, which has raised access to markets.”

Farmers of Arghakhanchi are using orange orchards to grow ginger and turmeric as well, according to Bishnu Acharya, a farmer from Morang, who earns around Rs400,000 a year by selling fruits and spices that he grows on 10 ropanis of land. However, his income fluctuates depending on weather conditions.

Other farmers also grow radish, cauliflower, tomatoes, cabbage and sweet potatoes in orange orchards.

Oranges grown in the district are sold in Sandhikharka, Butwal, Palpa, Pokhara, Kapilvastu and Kathmandu. However, sales of oranges grown in the district were hit by protests launched against the move to separate some of the hilly regions from Province 5. During that time the price of orange had dropped from Rs55 per kg to Rs20 per kg. The prices made a recovery after the protests came to an end. 

Published: 14-03-2017 10:13

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