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Manipur�s famed orange belt hit by insects

By Sobhapati Samom

IMPHAL, Nov 20 � Rahoulung Golmei, an orange cultivator of Dailong village in Manipur�s orange belt in Tamenglong district has abandoned his orchard at Khoukum village following the sudden dead of the trees two years ago due to an unknown plant disease.

The 35 year old father of two children who used to earn around Rs 50,000 in the better days from his orchard of around 700-800 orange trees, has now taken up a small time business of selling second hand clothes at Tamenglong town, around 150 km west of the State capital.

Like him, another orange cultivator Asenbou Newmai, a 34 year-old cultivator from Phellong village in the orange belt also faced identical problems but he continues to retain his orchard.

�Orange production is expected to decline this year in view of the withering and drying up of the trees�, Asenbou, father of six children, who normally earned about Rs 1 lakh every year from his orchard of around 1,000 orange trees, said. �We don�t know the reason behind the drying up and subsequent death of the trees�. Reports said Tamenglong orange is likely to be in shortage for the upcoming Orange Festival scheduled for December 11-12 next at Tamenglong.

Manipur produced around 31,968 metric tonnes of oranges from an area of 4,138 hectares of land in 2008-09, according to State Horticulture department sources. Tamenglong district alone produces 17,311 metric tonnes.

The experts are of the view that lack of proper care and climate change are the major factors for the dying of the orange trees. �Except some, most of the cultivators in the hills are not serious about giving nutrients to the decades-old orange trees not to speak of attending them with proper technology�, says A Rajlakshmi, specialist (Horticulture) of Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Manipur Centre.

According to her, the orange production declined in Manipur because of lack of attention to the trees, no spraying of insecticides and indiscriminate killing of wild birds besides the untimely rains due to climate change during the Monsoon season.

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Manipur�s famed orange belt hit by insects

IMPHAL, Nov 20 � Rahoulung Golmei, an orange cultivator of Dailong village in Manipur�s orange belt in Tamenglong district has abandoned his orchard at Khoukum village following the sudden dead of the trees two years ago due to an unknown plant disease.

The 35 year old father of two children who used to earn around Rs 50,000 in the better days from his orchard of around 700-800 orange trees, has now taken up a small time business of selling second hand clothes at Tamenglong town, around 150 km west of the State capital.

Like him, another orange cultivator Asenbou Newmai, a 34 year-old cultivator from Phellong village in the orange belt also faced identical problems but he continues to retain his orchard.

�Orange production is expected to decline this year in view of the withering and drying up of the trees�, Asenbou, father of six children, who normally earned about Rs 1 lakh every year from his orchard of around 1,000 orange trees, said. �We don�t know the reason behind the drying up and subsequent death of the trees�. Reports said Tamenglong orange is likely to be in shortage for the upcoming Orange Festival scheduled for December 11-12 next at Tamenglong.

Manipur produced around 31,968 metric tonnes of oranges from an area of 4,138 hectares of land in 2008-09, according to State Horticulture department sources. Tamenglong district alone produces 17,311 metric tonnes.

The experts are of the view that lack of proper care and climate change are the major factors for the dying of the orange trees. �Except some, most of the cultivators in the hills are not serious about giving nutrients to the decades-old orange trees not to speak of attending them with proper technology�, says A Rajlakshmi, specialist (Horticulture) of Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Manipur Centre.

According to her, the orange production declined in Manipur because of lack of attention to the trees, no spraying of insecticides and indiscriminate killing of wild birds besides the untimely rains due to climate change during the Monsoon season.