Rotten oranges at a cold storage in Syangja.
SYANGJA: Woes of local farmers have increased when the oranges stored in a cooling center went rotten in Syangja.
Some oranges stocked in a cold store being operated by the local Syangja Sheetbhandar Cooperative went decayed.
Farmers had stored their orange production in the cooling center aiming at maximizing their income from the sale during the off-season.
But now, the orange farmers are compelled to bear a loss. Rambandhu Aryal of Putalibazaar had stored 50 carats of oranges in the cooling center.
Some days ago, he found around seven carats of orange rotten in the center. With this, he hastened to sell out the orange stock.
Now per kilogram orange is being sold out at Rs 85 to Rs 90 from the tree.
“With the stored orange decaying, I am under compulsion to send to the market at the price of Rs 50 to Rs 60 per kilogram”, he shared.
Krishna Jung KC of Putalibazaar, Karendanda had stored up 266 carats of oranges worth amounting to Rs 800,000. After getting oranges decayed, he has also started clearing his stock at a cheaper price.
“I had stored the orange produce intending to get more price later but the situation turned reverse. I am worrying about possible loss”, KC added.
He selected fresh pieces from the stock and sold them out at the rate of Rs 65 per kg.
“We had stored up orange as per the standards”, he said, adding, “Due to carelessness of management side on its technical aspects, many farmers have to face a big loss”.
Local farmers who are solely relying on their household expenses on annual orange sales of up to Rs 150,000 are bearing the brunt, he shared.
He called for the stakeholders concerned to show adequate attention to the proper management of the cooling center to protect the farmers.
“If management was not improved the farmers would not store their vegetables and products in the center and the big investment of the State would go wastage”, he commented.
There is a worrying situation that the farmers would possibly abandon the occupation in fear of loss.
Chairperson of Sheetbhandar Cooperative, Ananta Kumar Shrestha said a study was being carried out on the reasons behind the decay of oranges in the cooling center.
“We were cautious that up to 10-15 percent stock would go wastage”, he added.
“The rotten amount went high than expected”, Shrestha said.
It may be noted that the Orange Super Zone is being implemented in Syangja under the Prime Minister Agriculture Modernization Project.
Oranges produced in different parts of the district are being stored in the cooling center.
Chairperson Shrestha said the technicians from the orange super zone, agriculture knowledge center, Syangja and Rampur-based agriculture campuses have visited the site and started carrying out a study on the causes behind the rot.
The cooling center having a storage capacity of 1,300 tons is in operation. Another cooling center with a capacity of 1,200 tons is being constructed in the same place.