Orange production in second spell drops 60 pc in Jhalawar district of Rajasthan

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Kota (Rajasthan), Apr 10 (PTI) Adverse climatic conditions and insufficient rainfall last year in the Jhalawar district have adversely affected orange production, which has dropped by about 60 per cent this year in the second spell of flowering.

Over the years, oranges from Jhalawar have come to be recognised better in taste than the variety of orange grown in Maharashtra's Nagpur, famous for production of oranges.

Orange is produced in over 40,000 hectare of land in Dug, Bhawanimandi and Pedawa Jhalrapatan areas of the Jhalawar district, fetching yield in lakhs of metric tons from the second spell of flowering of fruit, P K Gupta, joint director of horticulture department, Jhalawar, said.

He, however, added that the adverse climatic conditions last year in the district restricted the orange production to only 40 per cent, noting 60 per cent drop.

Last year, the orange cultivation was estimated to have yielded 3,28,000-3,30,000 tonnes of the fruit in its second spell of flowering that takes place in July-August. But, this year, only 1,31,000 tonnes of the fruit in the second spell was produced causing huge loss to the cultivators, he said.

The flowering on orange tree takes place thrice in a year — in April, August, December, which the farmers usually memorise as 4/8/12.

However, the farmers in Jhalawar prefer to the production of the fruit of second spell of flowing that they locally call 'Mrig Bahar' and the fruit 'Narangi', Gupta said.

He added that the production of the fruit in its first spell that brings the fruit in November-December with flowering in April and setting of fruits in May-June remained usual, unaffected by the climatic condition.

The orange of the first spell of flowering is called 'Ambe Bahar' which the cultivators in Jhalawar avoid harvesting.

The orange tree takes tertiary flowering (thrice in a year tertiary), but the cultivators in Jhalawar prefer to avail harvesting only of 'Mrig Bahar', which is considered to be the best-quality fruit, most juicy of the three seasons, said Hrishika, a horticulture student.

She added that 'Mrig Bahar' is best-quality orange fruit supported by favourable environment conditions with low-cost input.

This year, Saroniya is claimed to be the only village in Jhalawar where the orange trees yielded good amount of fruit in the second spell of flowering, and the orange gardens of the village were reportedly sold for Rs 3 crore.

There are about 25,000-30,000 orange trees in the village that share 2 per cent of the total production of orange in Jhalawar district, said Dwarkalal Patidar of Saroniya village, who himself owns around 5,200 orange trees in his garden in Jhalawar.

The 'Narangi' this time was lifted from the gardens for Rs 52 per kg, the highest wholesale price so far from the garden. It is being sold in the retail market for Rs 80-100 per kg, Dwarkalal said.

The price for the orange from the garden earlier stood to Rs 32-33 per kg in the past, he added.

Punam Patidar, a progressive farmer in Detiyakhedi village in Jhalawar, owns 3,000 orange trees in Madhya Pradesh near Rajasthan boarder and 1,500 trees in his native village. But, he hardly earned any money this time as adverse climate conditioned marred all flowers before fruit setting.

The rain and temperature played foul with the orange growers as they could get no substantial yield of orange in the second spell of flowering this year, Patidar said. PTI CORR HRS hrs