GTA study on orange shortage

Wed, Dec 5, 2018

Prashant Acharya

SILIGURI: The horticulture department of the GTA will carry out a study with the help of the Cinchona Plantation to find out the reasons for the drop in the production of mandarin oranges in the hills.  
Madhav Chhetri, senior scientific officer of the Horticulture department, said a preliminary meeting in this connection has already been held at the administrative level. “We have submitted a proposal to carry out survey on citrus rejuvenation. The study is expected to commence from end-December,” he said.
Chhetri said orange production has taken a plunge in orchards located below the heights of 4,000 feet to 5,000 feet, and not in higher altitudes. He cited various reasons, poor management, and general negligence.
Chhetri said pre-seedling should be done at least once a year with latest technical method by procuring seeds from the Himalayan mandarin orange family. “The Horticulture department is the only certified agency to provide orange seedlings. We are able to prepare only 10,000 to 12,000 seedlings yearly as against the requirement of 8 to 10 lakhs,” he told SIKKIM EXPRESS.
L. B. Dewan, the founder president of Small Orange Farmers’ Association of Darjeeling, said the production has come down in large numbers due to political turmoil in hills, lack of scientific support, improper environmental studies and ecological imbalance.

Area: 7096 Sq Km
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi