The West Bengal Government is taking several measures to arrest the fall in production of the famous Darjeeling oranges due to Dieback disease, which caused around 10-15 per cent decrease in production of this variety of oranges this year.

Darjeeling mandarin oranges are grown only in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts of the State.

“Darjeeling mandarin oranges are world famous. But its production has fallen significantly. One of the reasons is a disease. Due to this disease, production has fallen by around 10-15 per cent this year,” Food Processing Industries and Horticulture Minister Arup Roy said at West Bengal Food Processing Conclave here on Thursday.

Roy said the State government is taking measures to check the fall in productions of oranges due to dieback disease. “We have talked to Central Citrus Research Institute, Nagpur, and other experts in this regard. We have to help our farmers,” he said.

Disease-free planting materials

Over the years, around 80 per cent of total area under cultivation, where Darjeeling mandarin oranges are grown, has reduced in the state only due to the Dieback disease. Production of this variety of oranges has been witnessing a fall also due to pest attacks, shortage of proper quality saplings and reduction in fertility of the soil, among others.

In order to address the issue of fall in orange production, the Directorate of Cinchona and other Medicinal Plant, under the State’s Department of Food Processing Industries and Horticulture, is planning to produce quality disease-free planting materials.

“We are going to the farmers for rejuvenation of existing orange orchards. For that we will do inarching and disease management, insects and pests management and nutritional management,” a senior government official told businessline.

Inarching is required in cases where old and more number of fruits bearing plants get root decaying diseases. “We will give farmers training,” the official said.