Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Orange production falls in Pachutar in Phuentsholing


May 20: Farmers of Pachutar village in Phuentsholing are facing a dilemma. Their orange production has been falling every after year.

They have been advised to replace the old trees with new saplings but this means they have to forego the income from the sale of oranges for over five years till the new trees start bearing fruit.

Pachutar was once a village that thrived on oranges –a major cash crop and financial backbone of the community. But over the last few years, the harvest dwindled with each fruit bearing season. This has become the main concern of the farmers.

The production during the last season was the lowest so far. Agricultural officials said the trees were over 20 years old and have not been managed properly. They said the trees were also stuck by citrus green, a disease which results in poor flowering and yellowing of leaves. They said the only answer is to replace the old trees with new saplings.

The Agriculture Ministry is willing to provide disease resistant saplings to the people. But the farmers said they are reluctant to start all over again. Orange trees normally take about five years to start bearing fruit. They said they cannot afford to forego the income for such a long time as it is the only source of income for many farmers.

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