Agri Business

Nagpur orange prices plunge

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on October 02, 2020

The orange trees in Nagpur, in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, are in full bloom and the process of harvesting has commenced in places such as the Amravati district. The copious monsoon has helped with a good crop, which arrived about three weeks early in the market. However, farmers are not happy as the agitations against the farm ordinances has created uncertainty in the market, leading to a decline in prices.

Amol Totey, Executive President of the Orange Growers Association of India, told BusinessLine that this year has seen a bumper crop with almost 1.5 lakh hectares under cultivation in the Vidarbha region. The prices are a matter of worry as before the farmers’ agitation they were ₹30-40 per kg and now they have dropped to ₹20-25 per kg at the farm gate. Traders from places as diverse as Siliguri in West Bengal and Kerala are a bit hesitant to order truckloads of oranges. Due to job losses and ethe conomic slowdown, traders are also not sure if people will consume a lot of the fruit.

Ordinance burden

Even though the crop of Kinnow (Mandarin hybrid orange) cultivated in Punjab is good, it suffers from the same set of problems. The agricultural marketing reforms being brought about by the Centre are likely to create confusion and chaos in the market for the next few months, by which time the season might end. Rewriting the rules of the agricultural marketing business through ordinances is having its impact on the whole value chain, said Totey.

The Nagpur orange business is unique as it has been for years a cash-and-carry system, where traders buy the goods at the farm gate and pick the oranges from farms. The oranges do not hit the APMC market. But the ordinances have created a negative atmosphere, affecting the trade, Totey said.

Orange farmer Sagar Chiktte from the Davan village in the Amravati district, who has a 6.5-acre orchard, said that traders today are offering prices between ₹20-25 per kg, a decline of almost ₹15 from the earlier rates offered in the year. In the neighbouring district of Akola, traders have formed a cartel and are not buying beyond a certain pre-determined price, he said.

Published on October 02, 2020

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