Bhojpur, Jan 28: Farmers in Bhojpur district have attracted to orange farming with the yield generating good income. Road connectivity is a major factor that helped expand its market beyond the locality, thus benefiting the farmers financially, said the authorities.
A farmer who is engaged in the commercial farming drew from Rs 600,000 to Rs 1 million in income annually from selling oranges, they said.
“I have grown 400 orange trees in my garden. I have been earning sufficiently from the sales of orange. Commercial orange farming yields good income,” said a farmer Chandal Kumar Rai of Khawa Kerabari in Temkemaiyung-5.
Rai is in the farming of citrus fruit for 44 years. “Now, it can be taken as a medium of pension for my retired and sedentary life,” he observed. An orange tree can bear fruit until 100 years, according to him. He said he generated up to Rs 1 million in income annually from the sale of oranges and its saplings.
Most of the farmers here are farmers, and the orange farming has been become their main income source, said another farmer Devraj Rai. The market is reliable, as oranges produced here are in high demand, he said.
“The main income source of over 70 percent of households here is orange farming. It is the season for orange harvesting, and farmers busy,” he said. Now, there are 400 orange trees in his garden, and he is planning to expand it being encouraged by the good yield. “I am drawing from Rs 1.5 million to Rs 2 million annually from it. I aim to increase my income by some Rs 1 million to Rs 1.2 million annually in some years,” he shared.
Villages where oranges are produced in high quantity are Khawa Kerabari, Annapurna, Chhinamakhu, Kot and Gogane of Temkemaiyung Rural Municipality, Dawa, Bomikh and Pokhare of Bhojpur Municipality, Shadananda Municipality, Hatuwagadhi Rural Municipality and Ram Prasad Rai Rural Municipality. The main market for oranges produced here are Dharan, Itahari, Biratnagar and Kathmandu.
Traders and suppliers reach the gardens and buy oranges. However, farmers could get more value for their produce if they brought and sold them in the market in the district and outside, said Chandal Kumar.
Devraj said better income could be made if emphasis could be laid on development of modern technology and irrigation, adding many youths of these areas are involved in expansion of commercial orange farming in recent period.
He further pointed out the need of establishing chilling centres to store the produced oranges. “Farmers have been facing problem to store the oranges. Farmers could be able to earn more if they proper storage so that the fruit remains fresh for long”, mentioned Rai.
However, Chairperson of Ward-5, Sunil Rai, said local levels were carrying out activities to benefit the orange farmers of that areas. “Khawa has the best terrain for orange farming. We have been running some programmes supportive to farmers. Efforts are on to address the irrigation problem voiced by them.”
Chairperson Saroj Basnet expressed the view that they were also working to make Temkemaiyung Rural Municipality self-sufficient on agriculture.
They had set a plan to encourage farmers in agro and animal husbandry along with cash crop farming, he added. “All the nine wards of Temkemaiyung Rural Municipality produce oranges and farmers make adequate income from it. The rural municipality has a target to run incentive-oriented programme by collecting data on farmers involved in other works as well to encourage them towards orange farming.”
According to Agriculture Knowledge Centre, a total of 6,293 metric tonnes of orange were produced in Bhojpur district this year. Orange farming is done in 920 hectares of land in the district. (RSS)