Bumper orange crop did the initial damage
Muktsar, February 6
It has been an unfruitful year for kinnow growers of the state. Though the production has been good both in terms of quality and quantity this time round, the bumper orange crop in Nagpur (Maharashtra) reduced the kinnow’s demand.
Kinnow is grown on 26,456 hectares in Fazilka, Muktsar and Ferozepur districts. The growers have been getting Rs 8-9 a kg for their produce, down from Rs 12-15 a kg last year. As a result, over 40 per cent of the kinnow crop still lies in the orchards.
A number of growers said the contractors who had signed agreements to give Rs 10-12 per kg for the fruit around a month ago had broken the pacts and didn’t even bother to take back their security deposits.
Ramesh Bajaj, a kinnow grower, said, “I have an orchard on 20 acres. We were expecting the prices would better during the wedding season, but that didn’t happen. Orange stored earlier was used in this period. Now, we can’t wait for long as kinnows starts dropping once they get overripe.”
Mohit Setia, another grower, said, “We are waiting for the prices to increase but the changing weather is a cause for concern.”
Horticulture Department Deputy Director Jagnandan Singh Brar, incharge of Muktsar, Fazilka and Ferozepur districts, said, “Punjab kinnow growers are getting lesser remuneration due to the bumper orange production in Nagpur. The growers are still waiting for the prices to increase even though the fruit is about to reach maturity stage.”