Nagpur oranges are all set to pinch the consumer hard as traders and growers complain of less crop due to absence of rain in Vidarbha. Estimates say this year the arrival of oranges will be hit by more than 60 per cent, which will have an effect on its prices.
On an average, Maharashtra reports around 1,24,000 hectares of orange orchards with the state cornering 9 per cent of the country’s production.
Nagpur oranges start arriving in the market by September-end and continue to feed the market for the next three-four months. During the peak season, the wholesale market of Pune sees the arrival of 150-200 tonnes of the fruit daily. Nagpur oranges have a cult following across the country and is awaited eagerly in the market.
This year, traders fear a huge dip in production due to the scarcity of rain in both Amravati and Nagpur divisions. As of Thursday, all the orange-growing districts have reported rainfall deficiency ranging between 22 and 40 per cent. Moisture stress has led to wilting of flowers, which is set to affect production. Milind Falke, an orange grower from Amravati, said not even 30 per cent of last year’s production can be achieved. “Prices will be high but farmers will have very little to sell,” he said.
Echoing his views, Rohan Ursal, a trader in Pune’s Gultekdi market, said the 70 per cent dip in production will shoot up prices. Last year, while demonetisation had resulted in prices crashing but this year the production dip will lead to prices shooting up. At present, arrival of oranges from Ahmednagar has been slow as out-of-state traders are sealing deals at farm gate levels. Ursal said the prices of Nagpur oranges will easily cross Rs 50 per kg at the wholesale end and retail prices will be higher.
Rajesh Chabarani, an orange trader from Nagpur, said during the peak season the local markets normally see arrival of 1,000 tonnes of the fruit per day.