Muktsar: Expecting losses, kinnow farmers turn to cotton and other crops : The Tribune India
Muktsar, July 10
As the kinnow crop is badly affected due to the sudden rise in temperature during its flowering phase in March and the subsequent closure of canals for a long period, some tree growers have this year grown cotton in their semi- arid in this southwestern part of the state.
Kinnow growers expect a return of around 20-25% this year. In particular, the colored kinnow begins to hit the market in November. Some kinnow growers said fruit traders are now finalizing advanced kinnow deals for Rs 30-35 per kg of quality produce. Last year the price remained at around 20-25 rupees per kg.
Balwinder Singh Tikka, a state award-winning kinnow farmer from Abulkhurana village, said, “This is the second season in a row where the yield has declined sharply. Kinnow growers profit from the weight of the fruit, not its rate. A number of kinnow plants have dried out and uprooted by arborists in the area due to the change in weather. In the flowering stage, the temperature rose four degrees in one day, which damaged the flowers of the plants. There are orchards that have negligible fruit this year. Even the orchards that produced quality fruit in the past suffered greatly. »
He added: “Other fruits like guava and malta are also badly affected. First, the sudden increase in temperature hit the crop, then the untimely closure of the canal increased the misfortunes of the arborists. Arborists who were totally dependent on flood irrigation have suffered greatly, but those who have already installed drip irrigation in their orchards are comparatively in a somewhat better position. However, some of us have even started growing other crops. We can’t take any more losses. Last year was also not good for fruit growers in the region. »
Similarly, lawyer Mohit Setia, a kinnow farmer from Fazilka district, said, “We have sown cotton in part of our orchard this year. This is only a trial as the kinnow harvest will barely pay off this year. Now the Irrigation Department has again closed some water channels in our area. We are unable to survive in such a situation. The state government should focus on the horticulture sector, otherwise there will be virtually no fruit growers in the region in the next two or three years. Input costs increase every year and yield drops sharply. Also, the basic rule of economics that price increases when supply also decreases does not fully apply to kinnow harvesting.
Setia added that the life of a kinnow plant is almost 30 years. However, some fruit growers have had to uproot their adult plants in less than 15 years. Notably, kinnow is grown on more than 90,000 acres in Fazilka and Muktsar districts.