Orange now a money spinner for Arunachal

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Itanagar, Nov 28 (UNI) Lower Dibang Valley district in Arunachal Pradesh is fast becoming an ideal place for orange cultivation with record number of oranges produced this year.

The district horticulture department has been making a comfortable stride towards extensive coverage of land under orange cultivation and providing a sustainable income source to the hilly people.

The hard labour of prominent farmers from the district like Dature Muili, Kelo Pulu, Atek Linggi, Thusi Pulu, Isrial Megu, Natong Legu and Sony Pertin bore fruit as they could produce orange beyond their imagination with turnover in lakhs this year.

''The district with suitable climatic and soil condition has tremendous potential to become the 'orange bowl' of the state,'' district horticulture officer (DHO) Dr D B Singh commented.

Khasi Mandarin species of orange is widely grown in the district, besides other existing citrus species. Farmers earlier practised the conventional method of cultivation without proper layout pattern but the active participation of the department slowly made the people take to scientific methods and this has brought about commercially viable bumper harvests, Dr Singh revealed.

''Notwithstanding the fact that the district is blessed with rich agro-climatic condition for horticultural activities, limited effort and investment culd make the farmer flourish within no time. The trend of a considerable number of farmers inclining towards orange cultivation over the last several years indicates brighter days ahead,'' the DHO added.

Orange generates a major share of income for the hills people of the district. Seven hundred hectares of orange cultivation were brought under the technology mission (TM), benefiting 500 farmers directly so far.

''It is orange season and whatever is produced in our small garden we sell them at the local market, getting a turnover of Rs 500 minimum daily and the bulk of the production is sold to the traders,'' one of the women vendors at Anchal Samiti Market disclosed.

Oranges from the district were transported to neighbouring Assam, West Bengal and Delhi and thereafter exported to Bangladesh and gulf countries through middlemen, sources at the department disclosed.

According to an official survey, overall 3,10,592 orange plants in Roing-Koronu community development (CD) block, 2,58,092 in Dambuk-Paglam CD block and 50,000 in Hunli-Desali block are covered under the mission.

The department has been giving priority of maximum coverage of orange and is keen to extend technical assistance and incentives to the progressive farmers, Dr Singh disclosed, adding the department had also set up a citrus nursery-cum-progeny orchard at Balek for breeding and propagating fruits culture.

UNI UPB DPM KLC1134

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