Orange farmers rue lack of market accessAlthough orange production in Rukum district has been on the rise, farmers have not been able to benefit much due to the lack of market access.
Although orange production in Rukum district has been on the rise, farmers have not been able to benefit much due to the lack of market access.
Only around 40 percent of the local output is sold, according to District Agriculture Development Office (DADO). Of 1,608 tonnes produced this year, only 964 tonnes were sold.
The farmers have been forced take their produce to the market themselves. According to Min Bahadur KC, technical assistant at DADO, lack of efficient distribution mechanism and market management has resulted in low sales.
Most of the farmers sell their oranges at markets in Khalanga, Rukumkot, Solawang, Simrut, Jhulneta and Chaur Jahari, among others. But they have failed to transport their produce outside the district.
“The production far exceeds the local demand. But only a fraction of the surplus is supplied to other districts,” Karna Bahadur Pun of Syala Pakha said, underscoring the need for setting up a mechanism to help the farmers supply their produce outside Rukum.
According to DADO, the fruit was cultivated on 172 hectares of land in Rukum this year. Compared to last year, the production has increased by 1.1 percent to 1,608 tonnes. KC said the sales stood at Rs28.94 million, slightly higher than last year's Rs28.65 million sales.
The agriculture office has said a rise increase in the number of farmers seeking technical assistance and facilities and timely rainfall contributed to the rise in orange production.
Identifying Syala Pakha and Chaukhawang as major orange producing areas, and Muru, Ghetma, Aath Bish Dada Gaun, Khara and Bhalakchha as support pockets, DADO has been conducting several programmes to support the farmers.