TINSUKIA, Nov 23 – Like tea and paddy, Tinsukia district is also famous for its traditional fruit orange (Khasi Mandarin). Prior to the introduction of small tea gardens as well as its expansion throughout the district, orange was the chief cash crop after paddy.
Till a few years back, orange cultivation was being done covering more than 1200 hectares of land in the district, but it has been reduced to about 600 hectares due to the change of crop from orange to tea. But some of the small tea growers have used the same land for both the crops using some modern concepts and technology.
Noticing the probabilities of expansion of this very useful fruit, the district agriculture department has been encouraging the farmers to go for orange cultivation and provided subsidies at the rate of Rs 35 thousand per hectare of a cluster of 20 hectares of orange cultivation under the Central Govt Scheme, Mission for Horticulture of NE & Himalayan States.
The financial assistance helps the farmers to rejuvenate the existing plants and undertake area expansion. This year, the orange cultivation has been expanded to more than 800 hectares in the district and on an average around 25,000 oranges are being produced per hectare, which amounts to about 20,000 metric tonnes of orange.
The department also hopes that in the near future the areas of orange cultivation will cross the previous records of 1200 hectares in the district.
In the meantime, the district administration and the agriculture department have taken up some schemes including storage, processing and marketing for the benefits of farmers.