Climatic changes and the smog caused by stubble burning have hit the kinnow crop in Fazilka and Muktsar districts. This has not just affected the size of the kinnows: fruit dropping is also high in orchards.
“Luckily, we are getting good prices for kinnow so we can manage our losses,” the growers claim.
Avneet Brar, a kinnow grower from Abohar: “Fruit dropping is high this time due to various factors, including climatic change, less rainfall during monsoon and fresh rainfall in November. The fruit size is also likely to remain smaller in comparison to last year. Further, per plant average fruit bearing too is likely to remain less this year. Stubble burning has also affected the kinnow crop. Some growers fearing high dropping, sold green coloured kinnows that fetch lower price.”
Punjab’s ‘king fruit’ kinnow is bringing handsome return to farmers over last year, with traders in this subdivision of Fazilka district being offered up to ₹18 per kg. This is an increase of 50% over last year’s average prices.
The major reason for this price appreciation is poor output of competing fruits like oranges in other parts of the country. The south is the biggest market for Punjab’s kinnow and it plays a vital role in deciding the pricing, growers say.
Punjab leads in the cultivation of kinnow, a hybrid between King and Willow Leaf Mandarin. Abohar produces 60% of the state’s fruit with area under it pegged at around 33,000 hectare. Last season, Abohar had produced 700,000 tonnes of kinnow.