Nagpur oranges have a cult following across the country.
Oranges from Nagpur (Nagpuri santras) are set to be costlier as drought looms large over orchards in parts of the state, and with supplies expected to dip by 40 per cent, both retail and wholesale prices may increase considerably.
Maharashtra has around 1.24 hectares for orange cultivation, and oranges from Vidarbha are the most sought after because of their taste and flavour. They start arriving in the markets from January and are available till the end of March. Last year, the wholesale price of oranges was around Rs 30-40 per kg.
“This year, we expect the prices be around Rs 50-60 per kg at wholesale and much higher in retail,” said Rohan Ursal, a commission agent in the Pune’s wholesale market. As parts of Vidarbha and Ahmednagar, and almost all of Marathwada — regions where orange is cultivated — reel under a drought, the production of the fruit is bound to be hit this season.
Shridhar Thakare, director of Mahaorange, said a 40 per cent dip in arrivals was expected, starting from January 15. “Farmers are nipping the flowers in the bud to ensure survival of their orchards during a time of water scarcity,” he said. Farmers, however, have been able to command better prices at the farmgate, in the range of Rs 25-30 per kg.
This year, overall, has been profitable for orange growers, with exports to Bangladesh picking up, said Thakare. “In September, October and November, we were exporting around 400 tonnes of oranges to Bangladesh on a daily basis,” he said.
In Pune markets, oranges start arriving after January and the season normally ends by April. Last year, a glut in supplies had reduced prices in the wholesale markets. Along with the Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB), various organisations had started directly selling oranges in urban centres. That may not be necessary this year as farmers are getting better prices at the farmgate level.
Source: Indian Express