Waling: Woes of local farmers have increased when the orange stored up in a cooling centre went rotten in Syangja. Some orange stocked in a cold store being operated by the local Syangja Sheetbhandar Cooperative went decayed. Farmers had stored their orange production in the cooling centre aiming at maximizing their income from the sale during the off-season. But now, the orange farmers are compelled to bear a loss.
Rambandhu Aryal of Putalibazaar had stored 50 carats of orange in the cooling centre. Some days ago, he found around seven carats of orange rotten in the centre. With this, he was hastened to sell out the orange stock. Now per kilogram orange is being sold out at Rs 85 to Rs 90 from the tree. “With the stored orange decaying, I am under compulsion to send to the market at the price of Rs 50 to Rs 60 per kilogram”, he shared.
Krishna Jung KC of Putalibazaar, Karendanda had stored up 266 carats of orange worth amounting to Rs 800,000. After getting oranges decayed, he has also started clearing his stock in a cheaper price. “I had stored the orange produce intending to get more price later but the situation turned reverse. I am worrying of possible loss”, KC added. He selected fresh pieces from the stock and sold out at the rate of Rs 65 per kg.
“We had stored up orange as per the standards”, he said, adding, “Due to carelessness of management side on its technical aspects, many farmers have to face a big loss”.
Local farmers who are solely relying their household expenses on annual orange sale of up to Rs 150,000 are bearing the brunt, he shared. He called for the stakeholders concerned to show adequate attention towards the proper management of cooling centre to protect the farmers. “If management was not improved the farmers would not store their vegetable and products in the centre and the big investment of the State would go wastage”, he commented.
There is a worrying situation that the farmers would possibly abandon the occupation in fear of loss. Chairperson of Sheetbhandar Cooperative, Ananta Kumar Shrestha said a study was being carried out on the reasons behind the decay of orange in cooling centre. “We were cautious that up to 10-15 percent stock would go wastage”, he added. “The rotten amount went high than expected”, Shrestha said.
It may be noted that the Orange Super Zone is being implemented in Syangja under the Prime Minister Agriculture Modernization Project. Orange produced in different parts of the district are being stored up in the cooling centre.
Chairperson Shrestha said the technicians from the orange super zone, agriculture knowledge centre, Syangja and Rampur-based agriculture campuses have visited the site and started carrying out a study on the causes behind the rot. The cooling centre having a storage capacity of 1,300 ton is in operation. Another cooling centre with a capacity of 1,200 tons is being constructed in the same place.