SHILLONG, Jan 11: Popular worldwide for being juicy and sweet, the Khasi mandarin - a variety of orange that Meghalaya was famous for is faced with a problem of decline in the area of production or orchards every year owing to the lack of technical knowhow of the farmers.
“The main problems are disease and pests as the orange plant has a lot of disease and pests and the farmers are not taking proper care and management that is causing a decline of most of the plants and orchards in the state,” District Horticulture Officer, East Khasi Hills, PS Kharnoir said here on Wednesday.
In view of this an Orange and Honey festival was organised by the Horticulture department at Mawsynram wherein locally made honey beside oranges were at display.
“Orange is one of the major cash crops of the state. We were very famous in the production of the oranges earlier but slowly due to the technological problems that the farmers are facing now the area of organge production is decreasing year by year,” said Kharnaior.
Stating that orange is a very remunerative crop and the profit margin is higher than that of other crops, Kharnaior said, “We awant the farmers to take up the orange plantation in a big way so that we can produce enough to export national and internationally.”
“This will improve the economic condition of the farmers and also improve the production quantity,” he added.
He further said that the festival was organised to create awareness and encourage the farmers to take up orange cultivation and set up the orchard in a technical way so that they can increase production.
Informing about the technological initiatives to counter the decline in production, the district horticulture officer said that the department has initiated a programme called Citrus Rejuvenation from this month under which the farmers would be provided guidance and inputs to rejuvenate the citrus orchards in the state.
He further informed that under the same scheme a fruit processing and preservation programme which will run side by side with other programmes and will help the farmers in value addition, juice processing and other programmes.
Talking about other programmes that the farmers can avail of, he said that programmes like the mission for integrated development of horticulture under which the farmers can avail the benefits of area expansion programme under citrus, ornage and value addition.
The festival was participated by various allied departments, farmers beside others.