Bumper orange crop leads to low prices, farmers suffer
A bumper production of oranges in Jhalawar seems to be adding to farmers’ worries instead of making them smile. Prices of oranges have crashed. A farmer who had got ₹20 for a kilo of orange last year is selling it for ₹5-8 this year.jaipur Updated: Feb 25, 2017 20:33 IST
A bumper production of oranges in Jhalawar seems to be adding to farmers’ worries instead of making them smile. Prices of oranges have crashed. A farmer who had got ₹20 for a kilo of orange last year is selling it for ₹5-8 this year.
“A bumper production should have been good news for us. I was hoping to make a healthy profit this year. But now I am not getting a fair price,” said a farmer Shyam Singh from Haranthiya village in Bhawanimandi. Another despaired farmer, Devilal Gurjar of Pirawa region said, “Last year, we had got ₹30 a kg for our best oranges, but this year we are not getting more than ₹10 per kg.”
Due to the popularity and countrywide demand of these oranges, there is a Jhalawar Orange Mandi in Bhawanimandi. Haseeb Chaudhary, a commission agent at the mandi, said that traders from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and other states come here to buy the fruit. “This year, the average price of oranges is between ₹3 and ₹15 per kilo while the best quality of oranges is selling for ₹20 per kg. Last year, the average price was not less than ₹10 per kg and the maximum price went up to ₹40 per kg,” he said.
Another trader, Sharif Mansoori, said that the authorities had to shut the mandi for a day due to the bumper arrival of oranges.
“While orange production was around 2.5 lakh metric tonnes (MT) in 2016, the area under cultivation was 16,000 hectares in Jhalawar. The production this year is likely to touch 5 lakh MT this year,” said the joint director, horticulture, Jhalawar, Devendra Chaudhary.
Jhalawar oranges are deemed superior to their competitor from Nagpur because of their sweetness, weight, thin peel and longer shelf life.
Admitting that the price of oranges is abysmally low this year, Chaudhary said that prices are related to demand and supply, orange prices this year are lower as the production is almost double than what it was last year and the highest in last three years. “Congenial climate, training and management programmes for farmers, less prevalence of black fly disease and adequate water availability has lead to the bumper production,” he said.
General secretary of Congress, Jhalawar, Rajesh Gupta ‘Karawan’ said that an agro-food processing unit should be established to ensure fair prices for farmers.
“Three waxing and grading units are there in Jhalawar, which have helped farmers improve the price of oranges. The Rajasthan government is trying to establish agro-food processing units and have signed MoUS at the Resurgent Rajasthan summit,” said Chaudhary in reply to Gupta’s demand.