Sweet orange farmers happy after getting rid of pestsThe Chinese citrus fly began invading farms in Sindhuli four years ago.
Narayan Kunwar of Dude, Golanjor Rural Municipality-4 had packed his bags to go abroad as a migrant worker after a pest infestation damaged his sweet orange crop. But the farmer from Sindhuli district changed his mind and decided to stay home after the infestation diminished with the use of pesticides.
Kunwar is happy with his decision as his sweet orange farm has started generating a good income. “After pests damaged the crop, I almost gave up and tried for foreign employment. The pest infestation was brought under control with the use of pesticides and created hope for me,” he said.
The super zone programme of the Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project and Karma Chemicals from the farmers' side invested Rs1 million each to control the pest infestation in Majhkuvinde. Agriculture technician Jahan Bahadur Karki said that a team of seven persons sprayed fields with pesticide from mid-May to mid-June.
According to the head of the Super Zone Office Devraj Adhikari, the Chinese citrus fly (Bactrocera minax) began invading farms in the northern part of Mahabharat in Sindhuli four years ago.
The farmers were dejected after the pest ruined their crops. Last year, 70 percent of the sweet orange crop was lost to the pest. But this year, it was just the opposite. Kunwar said that the infestation did not damage more than 20-30 percent of their crops. “I never thought that we could save our crops from pests,” he said.
The Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project, Sweet Orange Super Zone and farmers have been fighting the pest for two years. Gradually, they were able to achieve success in controlling pests, and the farmers became encouraged.
Sweet orange farmer Kunwar has earned more than Rs300,000 from his trees so far. He owns 80 sweet orange trees. He said that his income swelled to Rs500,000 after the pest infestation was brought under control. He added that the pest could be eradicated completely but government support was essential.
Mohan Gorkhali, who has already made around Rs700,000 from his sweet orange harvest, had been planning to go abroad to work with Kunwar. Like Kunwar, he also changed his mind after the money started flowing in this year.
“I decided to stay believing that the infestation could be controlled,” he said. He had switched from paddy and buckwheat to sweet orange, and then the infestation struck. “I do not have any alternate income source, and the loss in production was depressing,” he said. Gorkhali owns 400 sweet orange and orange trees.
Another farmer Hari Bahadur Bhujel said he was happy to make a good income from his sweet orange crop after the pest infestation was controlled. Output changes every year, he said, but production increased after applying pesticides and income rose.
The pest control programme started last year after designating 800 ropanis of land as a super zone. The super zone is being expanded following the success in controlling pests, he said.
Bhujel added that pesticide was applied for 10 weeks after the trees started bearing flowers. He said that pests could be eliminated by spraying pesticide, and that the local level, super zone and farmers should invest in the programme.
The sweet orange harvest in Dude has been sold out while farmers in Majhkuvinde have some in stock. The sweet orange crop in Majhkuvinde suffered less pest damage this year, and only 10 percent of it has decayed. Farmers sell their sweet oranges to traders in Sindhuli for Rs10 per unit.