Ferozepur, Dec 21(ANI): Kinnow farming is proving to be a major attraction for farmers in Punjab.
What was once an parched land in the belt bordering Rajasthan, now wears a bright orange hue- Abohar in Ferozepur, Muktsar and Bhatinda - to the northern district of Hoshiarpur, kinnows are now the best example of diversification to horticulture in the state.
In a state dominated by wheat and paddy crops, kinnows are making millionaires out of farmers, who are increasingly taking to horticulture.
With favourable weather conditions this year, Punjab is headed for a record production of 7.3 lakh tones of kinnows, more then double of last year's 3.5 tones.
While, the per-hectare productivity of kinnow, from 10 tones in the past has gone up to 15 tones in the last few years. And this year it is almost 19 tones per hectare.
The area under the crop has also gone up by nearly 4,000 hectares.
"The production of kinnow is good this year because of favourable weather and the demand of the fruit is also good. Earlier, because of bumper production of orange and citrus, the rates of kinnow were affected, but this year due to reduced orange and citrus production, the demand of kinnow is high," said Gurwinder Singh, a kinnow grower.
"Kinnow has also suffered due to scanty rain as the size of kinnow is small, but the overall production and demand is good. The buyers are coming from all over India and we are getting good prices in the market too," he added.
The marketing of kinnow has also become convenient with the setting up of processing plants in the region.
Recently, two plants of the Punjab Agro Juices Limited were installed at a cost of 16 million dollars, which will be run by a state agency to meet the demand of juice companies for kinnow concentrate.
Many progressive kinnow growers now have contractors to market kinnows in big markets like Delhi.
"The reason for the early arrival of kinnows in the market is that the production of juicy fruits was very less and so the demand of kinnow went high. The prices are also good. The good quality of kinnow is available at Rs. 13-14, otherwise the normal rates are Rs eight to nine," said Brij Mohan Sharma, a financer.
Surinder Kumar, a kinnow exporter, said: "Kinnow is being transported to all over India and Bangladesh is the only country where it is being exported. If other countries also start importing kinnow from here, it will be good for farmers, as the production of kinnow will increase."
The Government too has woken up to the wonder fruit, which is estimated to possess the highest content of limonene, a compound which has anti-cancer properties.
And for the first time, kinnows would be bought by a state procurement agency to be processed at the two multi-million plants at Abohar and Hoshiarpur. By Avtar Gill (ANI)