ibnlive » Business

Sep 24, 2008 at 04:31pm IST

Drought affects orange crop in Nagpur

Nagpur: While other parts Maharashtra are battling raging flood waters, the Vidarbha region battles a drought.

Orange country Nagpur is severely hit by the monsoon’s absence and that has affected its Orange produce..

Lovers of the fruit must soon brace for a shortage.

An orange grower, Dileep Mahale has been tending to his Orange crop near Kamleshwar in Nagpur, for the last 25 years.

But this year, his hopes of a great harvest have dried up with the drought in the region. That has left him with no alternative but to chop down these trees.

"The rains were inadequate and the trees have dried up. I cannot afford to plant new trees, " said Mahale.

Last year traders queued up to buy the Orange produce, which is in sharp contrast to this year’s scenario. The unprecedented drought has led to a drastic drop in the yield. That has left the farmers in despair.

Another orange farmer, Namdev Raut said, “Last year I had a good yield and got a good price too, but this year we have water scarcity, bad rains and load shedding all day."

A few years ago, orange orchards spanned more than 50,000 hectares of fertile land in Nagpur.

This year, there are only about 18000 hectares covered with orange trees.

Even that number may take a hit, as over 1400 hectares have been affected by the drought.

The Zila Parishad (District Council) has requested the state government for some assistance in extending relief to the Orange cultivators.

The head of the Zila Parishad, Ramesh Mankar said, “The Government should undertake quick survey and come up with a plan for our farmers.”

Trees that were fruit laden at the beginning of September are now almost bare.

It's now up to the government to find a way to help the farmer in India's orange capital with better irrigation facilities. Only external intervention can make the region's prized fruit trees blossom again.