•      Mon Mar 4 2024

Orange production up in Solukhumbu, but farmers facing market problem

Orange production in Nepal, 2023. (file photo)

Solukhumbu, Feb 9: Orange production has gone up in Solukhumbu, the mountainous district in Koshi province. It has increased by more than 400 metric tonnes this season, the Agriculture Knowledge Centre Solukhumbu said.

The district produced 469 metric tonnes more oranges in the current fiscal year 2023-24 compared to the previous fiscal year, 2022-23. Information Officer at the Centre, Kul Bahadur Rai, said orange production in the district last fiscal year was 1,690 metric tonnes and it reached 2,159 metric tonnes in the current fiscal.

Orange is grown in 295 hectares land in the district, but this year production could be reaped only from 257 hectares. Rai, the Centre’s information officer, said the production increased this year with the increase in the number of high-yielding orange trees.

Oranges can be grown in seven out of the eight local levels in the district. Cultivation is not possible in Khumbu Pasang Lhamu rural municipality because of extreme cold, said Durga Bahadur Tiruwa, Chief of the Centre.

Sixty percent of all orange production in the district comes from Thulung Dudhkoshi rural municipality, it is stated. The Deusa area of this rural municipality is the pocket area for orange in the entire district.

Although the orange production has been going up in the district over the years, there is problem of taking them to the market, farmers complained.

Sangam Rai, a farmer from Deusa who is into commercial orange farming, said that a sizable portion of the oranges produced in Deusa go to waste due to lack of market and transportation facilities.

The market for the oranges produced in the district is confined within the district itself. This means that the orange farmers have only a limited market for their orange. Ambar Rai, another farmer of Deusa, rued that oranges taken to Salleri, the district headquarters, for sale, does not even sells at Rs 50 per kilo.

According to him, the orange growers have not been able to make profit due to the lack of market and there are no facilities to take their produce to bigger markets in other districts. #Nepal