Project to revive orange cultivation in Darjeeling launched

Kalimpong, 27 Apr:

ICAR, Regional Station, Kalimpong, today initiated the much needed revival of orange cultivation in Sitong-I project with financial assistance from NABARD.

The project PI, Dr. Sujit Sarkar, speaking at the inaugural ceremony, informed that under the project, orange growers will be provided all the necessary technological support (healthy planting materials, rootstocks, nuclear seedlings, improved vegetable seed for intercropping, training support etc.).

A nursery will be established to meet future planting demands.

The DDM, NABARD, Dr R Hasda, thanked the farmers of Sitong for supporting and participating in this new initiative of resuscitating the old glory of Darjeeling oranges and for their interest in removing the old infected orchards and replacing them with healthy planting materials in a community-based approach.

This is a lesson for other farmers of Darjeeling district as the disease from old orchards spreads to nearby new and healthy orchards.

He also called on the farmers to undertake marketing linkage through producer groups for better price and income from Darjeeling oranges. The Horticulture officer, Dr. Mahadev Chetri [CDRS, Kalimpong] appreciated the initiative for reviving orange cultivation in the belt and participation of farmers in this initiative.

Under the project, vegetable seed was distributed for intercropping in mandarin orchard to act as alternate income source. The farmers’ representatives, PB Khawas and BT Chetri from Sitong I expressed their happiness on the support extended through the project. They are planning to form a committee for successful implementation of the project.

Dr. Sujit Sarkar remarked that this is the beginning of a new journey towards revival of orange cultivation in Darjeeling and expressed hope that this kind of farmer-scientist participatory project will identify the problem of decline in orange cultivation in the district.