BANDORGOG (SONAPUR), Dec 13 - With the support of NABARD and under the initiative of Kalong Kapili, a non-governmental organisation for rural development, the Orange Producers Organization (OPO) was formally floated at a function organised today in Bandorgog village under Nartap Gaon Panchayat, Kamrup (Metro).
Around 100 orange growers took membership of OPO so that they can directly sell their produce to the buyers.
These orange growers hailing from villages like Bandorgog, Marlap, Magursila, Markang, Pithagog, Kolongpur etc., on the Assam-Meghalaya border, had for long been at the mercy of middlemen. Compelled by financial constraints, these farmers had to go for contract-based cultivation, with the middlemen deciding the rates of their produce.
�We never got a fair deal. But now we are looking towards improving our living standards by doing direct business,� said Rajen Fangsu, an orange cultivator.
This area, nestled on a hilly terrain and dominated by the Karbi community, can be described as nature�s paradise in one word. The villages now have a golden hue about them with rows and rows of orange trees bending down under the weight of the ripe fruits.
The economically backward orange cultivators have a genuine reason to be happy this season because, with support from NABARD, they will also be availing technological benefits to enhance orange production.
Assistant General Manager of NABARD Partha Saha who launched the organisation, said that so far the orange growers were victims of an unfair practice. �Last year these orange growers got just Rs 2 or Rs 2.50 per orange, whereas at the markets the same oranges were selling for Rs 7 to 12 per piece. So we were working upon a concept to help these orange growers so that they can get a fair price,� said Saha, adding that the Orange Producers Organization is an attempt to address the grievances of the orange growers. He further said that with the orange growers getting a direct market linkage from now on, the profit margin will be maximum and the hardships of the orange growers will be minimised.
�Apart from market linkage, these orange growers have been facing a lot of other problems, like lack of technology to boost their productivity, lack of credit support etc. The OPO will ensure technological intervention as well. The orange growers have also evinced keen interest to expand their cultivation area,� said Saha.
It needs mention that a buyer-seller meet was also held on the occasion and both parties agreed to do business by fixing the prices of oranges size-wise. Buyers came from Guwahati and Byrnihat to attend the meet.
�We are going to ensure credit support to the orange growers,� said Jyotish Talukdar of Kalong Kapili.
The meet also decided upon the pick-up points for oranges. As per size-wise grading, the price for a small sized orange was fixed at Rs 4, the medium sized at Rs 4.50 and the big ones at Rs 5 each. A good price for the cultivators compared to last year.
The State agriculture department and Assam Gramin Vikash Bank are also going to help the orange growers.