There will be 40% lesser yield in litchi crop this year due to untimely rain and hail storms that hit the region since March, and will prompt fruit growers to hike the price of the fruit.
A litchi cultivator, Dilbagh Singh Cheema, who owns swathes of fruit of orchards at Bariar, said the varieties of the fruit grown in Gurdaspur are the Dehradun litchi and the Kalkatti litchi.
Around 250 hectares of land in the district is under litchi cultivation. Depending on the fertility of land and the quality of litchi trees, litchi growers get around 50 to 150 quintals of the fruit per acre in a year.
But this year, the rain and hail played spoilsport. The inclement weather, Cheema said, has affected trees that will subsequently impact the produce and fewer litchis will go to the markets this year.
And in this case, a run-of-the-mill solution to make up for the losses by fruit growers is hiking the prices. However, not all the litchi orchard owners are worried.
Most of the litchi orchards in Gurdaspur have been leased out to contractors from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. These contractors sell most of the produce in other states.
Cheema, for instance, said he leased out his orchard to a contractor to a UP-based contractor for `90,000 an acre per year.
“These contractors take all the responsibilities of the crop…from flowering to marketing…,” he added.