Farmers of Sigana, Baglung Municipality-8 of the district, which has become known as an orange village, have produced 15 million oranges this year. However, farmers said that this year’s production was lower than last year’s. According to locals, oranges worth more than Rs 10 million have declined this year due to heavy rains.
Top Bahadur Khadka, an orange farmer of Sigana, informed that the production of oranges has increased to Rs.
According to the ward office, the orange farmers of Sigana earned Rs. “We had expected Rs 2.5 crore to Rs 30 million worth of oranges to be sold this year due to the expansion of the orchards,” said farmer Khadka.
Another farmer Ram Bahadur Khadka says that oranges could not come to the market in Sigana due to late ripening of oranges. “There are no big traders like last year,” said Khadka. “10 tonnes of oranges are kept in the cold storage. Other oranges are being sold.” Oranges are also being sold here.
According to Krishi Gyan Kendra Parbat, the production of oranges has declined by 30 percent this year in other places of the district including Sigana, which is a pocket area of oranges. The ward office has estimated to sell 1.5 million oranges this year as per the production of oranges. Oranges are currently being sold at Rs 50 per kg in Sigana. There are 15,000 orange trees in Sigana that bear good fruit. At most, one plant produces oranges worth Rs 25,000 to Rs 5,000.
According to Rajan GC, Ward Chairman of Banpa-8, 28,000 orange saplings have been planted through the ward office in a period of three years. The distributed plants will start producing from the next two years. “There is no time to produce the seedlings provided by the ward office. Normally, it takes four years for an orange tree to produce,” said Chairman GC.
The ward office has been distributing 10,000 orange saplings to farmers with 50 percent subsidy every year. The production of oranges will increase at the rate of Rs.
Tulsi Khadka, an orange farmer, said that he started producing oranges within three to four years of planting due to suitable climate. There are 100 orange trees in Khadka’s garden. Most of the locals in Sigana are attracted to orange farming. Farmer Ananta Bahadur Khadka, who has been earning Rs 500,000 annually from oranges, hopes to sell oranges worth up to Rs 300,000 this year. Sigana farmers have been earning a maximum of Rs 500,000 and a minimum of Rs 70,000 from the sale of oranges.
Sigana also has storage facilities for oranges. A 20-ton capacity orange moistening center has been constructed here at a cost of Rs 3 million by the Gandaki state government two years ago. The oranges produced in Sigana are exported to Pokhara, Chitwan and Baglung Bazaar.
Farmers in Sigana village are thinking of increasing orange cultivation with the help of technical and managerial assistance from the concerned agencies. Sigana is also included in the ‘Orange Zone’ program under the Prime Minister’s Agriculture Modernization Project. The Baglung Municipality has stated that unnecessary trees will be removed for planting additional 10,000 saplings this year as Sigana is fertile for orange cultivation.
Along with Sigana, Bihu, Titang, Bhakunde, Damekal and other places are considered fertile for orange cultivation. According to Krishi Gyan Kendra Parbat, oranges are being cultivated in an area of about 5,000 hectares in the district. Now, Sigana has become self-sufficient even in orange trees. According to Baglung Municipality Chief Janak Raj Poudel, the grant program has been continued as per the plan of Baglung Municipality to expand tea cultivation in the upper part of Sigana and orange cultivation in the lower part.