POTENTIALITIES OF ORANGE PRODUCTION IN DIBRUGARH DISTRICT OF ASSAM

Anshuman Saikia,
Assistant Professor, Department of Economics,
Bimala Prasad Chaliha College, Nagarbera, Kamrup, Assam, India

Abstract
Orange is one of the major citrus fruit crops grown commercially in Assam. Orange cultivation predominantly plays a very important role in the socio-economic condition of rural areas in Assam.  The Dibrugarh district also one of the growing and potential belts of orange (Khasi-Mandarin variety) production like Tinsukia, NC Hills, Karbi-Anglong, Goulpara, Dhemaji and Jorhat. Most of the small tea growers used to practice intercropping tea with orange which has resulted in increased production of orange thereby benefited the farmers economically. In Dibrugarh district, production and marketing of oranges has enormous potential despite a number of constraints being faced by the farmers. The study seeks to examine different problems and prospects of orange production in Dibrugarh district and to suggest some measures to overcome the problems in orange production and marketing.

Key words: citrus fruit, cultivation, rural areas, intercropping, production, marketing

1. Introduction
Orange being one of the important citrus fruits of the world occupies a prominent place in the horticultural field. Numerous forms of citrus have been growing from hoary past in Assam and it also abounds in wild forms. Assam is also considered to be the creator centre of citrus flora of India (Kakaty and Baruah, 2011: p.14). Assam enjoys a prominent privilege in the production of orange covering 10.8% of total area of the country under orange cultivation and has attained the third position in the country. Average orange yielding per hectare in Assam is 11.0 MT/HA while in all India, it is only 7.3MT/HA. Orange cultivation predominantly plays a very important role in the socio-economic condition of rural areas in Assam. Orange is a seasonal horticultural fruit crop. Oranges are available throughout the year (peak time-winter) and grow on evergreen trees which are about 30 feet high and 20 feet wide. The flowers of the orange are white and blossom in spring, however the fruits appear only by winter. Once the trees are matured it gives fruits for 15-20 years (Bastakoti, 2001: p.6). Assam is traditionally a horticultural state due to its unique agro-climatic condition, which permits growing wide range of horticultural crops like various fruits, vegetables, flowers, spices, nuts, and tuber crops, medicinal and aromatic plants. Assam falls under the world citrus belt. In Assam, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, NC Hills, Karbi-Anglong, Goulpara, Dhemaji and Jorhat are the growing and potential belts of orange (Khasi-Mandarin). The Khasi Mandarin variety of orange is originated in Assam and especially in Jayantia and Khasi Hills of present Maghalaya (Srivastava, 2006: p.44). It is the most popular and a commercially widely cultivated variety of Assam and North Eastern States. Trees are medium to tall, straight upright, thorns or thorn less; dense foliage fruit weight 140 to 200 gm., colour yellow to dark orange, sweet in taste, peel thin and tight and acidity 0.30—0.35 percent (Kalita, 2001: p.100). The area under this crop is 6.0(Ha) and the productions is 71.0M.T with a productivity of 11.9 (M.T/Ha). Most of the small tea growers used to practice intercropping tea with orange (Khasi-Mandarin) which has resulted in increased production of orange thereby benefited the farmers economically. As the harvesting season is November to January, the rest of the 9 months of a year, the farmer can pluck tea leaves from their small tea garden at least for 7 months from April to October. So from economic point of view this, “Orange cum Tea” cultivation seems to be very popular and profitable venture amongst the farmers of the orange growing belts of the Dibrugarh district of Assam. There are various factors that affect the productivity of orange. Prominent among them are lack of capital finance, lack of skill labour, managerial constraint, technical constraint of knowledge about proper use of fertilizer and pesticide , marketing problem faced by the farmers , transportation, low price, storing etc.

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