The ongoing growers’ protests in New Delhi have hit orange growers from Maharashtra hard. With the movement of the fruit to the capital and other markets in the north being affected due to the blockade, prices of oranges in Maharashtra have dropped.
Orange growers said traders from West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are a bit hesitant to order truckload of oranges due to the economic slowdown as they are not sure if people will consume enough.
Although the demand for oranges had gone up during the lockdown, growers were not able to reap the benefit. Exports have also not been as expected; some six containers of the fruit have left for Dubai and nearly 400-500 ton is being sent to Bangladesh on a daily basis via road.
Data from APEDA show that Bangladesh continues to remain the biggest importer of Indian oranges – 76,274 ton was exported in 2019-20, followed by Nepal at 16,026 ton. The UAE accounted for 883 ton, Qatar around 172 ton and Kuwait imported nearly 212 ton in the same year. Figures for 2020-21 year are not available yet.
Kinnow prices down as well
A large kinnow grower is feeling the heat -despite increase in yield due- to a sharp drop in prices. While production is up from 900,000 tons to 1.2 mln tons this year, the average price of kinnow for growers is about one third of last year’s prices.
Contractors, who normally come to the Punjab to purchase the fruit, are not coming in large numbers at this time.
Grower A.S. Tikka: “Yes, this year contractors are coming in lesser numbers but it has nothing to do with our protest against farm laws. Entire farming community is one as of now. BJP’s statements show that they just want to create a divide among us. As kinnow’s production has increased, likewise orange production has also grown this year and hence contractors are busy in orange markets i.e in Maharashtra and MP.”
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