Orange biz booms as output spikes, farmers post Rs 750 mil in sales

DHADING: Orange farmers in Dhading, one of the pocket regions for orange production, report a good year as sales reached Rs 750 million after a 40 per cent increase in output, thanks to temperate climate and absence of winds, hail all year round.

Moreover, a decline in infestations in orange orchards scattered around the district also led to a surge in total output from 52,000 metric ton in last fiscal to 80,000 metric ton this year, Agriculture Information Centre in Dhading informed.

As per official stats, farmers have posted near-double sales amounting to Rs 750 million from Rs 380 million last year.

Once considered an ‘orange island’ in the district, Syadul village used to produce the largest batch of oranges and transport it to neighboring districts of Kathmandu, Chitwan, Makawanpur and Pokhara. However, the village reeled under heavy infestation that led to a sharp decline in production for a decade, according to local Birendra Pandey.

But this year, orange farmers of Syadul who struggled to produce oranges worth half a million a year ago have doubled the income from selling sweet citrus fruit.

Moreover, Dhading has recently seen a stable rise in number of farmers turning to orange orchards, statistics show. As per the information centre, commercial cropping of oranges expanded to additional 30 hectares in the district. At present, 1100 farmers have planted oranges in 560 hectares, apart from unaccounted private orchards.

However, agriculture experts suggest that in absence of knowledge among farmers on adapting to climate change and using crop treatment to avert infestation, production in the region has become volatile.

According to experts, cropping regions experience good harvest for a year and in the next year the output plummets.

(Translated/Edited by Prahlad Rijal)