Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Fruits of labour



When youths from all over the country are heading abroad to find employment, farmers in Shankhu VDC of Kavre district have an alternative. Every year, farmers here produce oranges worth millions of rupees. Come mid-October, the whole village turns orange with the glowing colour of ripe fruit. Farmers here suddenly feel the end of deprivation and scarcity. Local orange trader Bhimlal Shrestha says juicy Kavre oranges are popular across the country for their taste. Local farmer Prem Lama says every household owns an orchard, and sells orange worth up to Rs 50,000. The bigger farmers earn up to Rs 1 million annually from oranges alone. Bishnu Bahadur Thapa is among those big farmers?he earns millions annually on oranges.

He started commercial orange farming 30 years ago. But he is unhappy with the price he gets for his fruits. Kavre oranges last longer, they are easier to store, juicier and taste better than oranges produced in other parts of the country, and traders should pay a better price for his produce. Local Rajan Humagain estimates that everyday some 25 to 30 metric tons of Kavre oranges exchange hands at Kathmandu fresh fruit markets and the district produces oranges worth Rs 70 million. However, the Kavre District Agriculture Development Office data shows that only half of them are traded out of the district. Since the district lacks fruit storage facilities, farmers are compelled to sell their produce at a lower price during the harvest season when there is a glut in the market.
Deputy Planning Officer at Kavre District Agriculture Development Office (KDADO) Durga Prasad Upreti says that his office has identified pockets where orange cultivation can be done. The government provides a 50 percent subsidy on agriculture inputs and improved plants for farmers. KDADO data shows Kavre farmers produced 5,750 metric tons of oranges last year, this year the total hit 6,750 metric tons.


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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