Orange on the path of revival in Kodagu

Orange or Mandarin in Kodagu was once regarded as the price of Kodagu. However, owing to disease affected the trees, it faced threat of extinction. Now, the oranges have once again revived in the district.

Orange filled coffee estates were a common sight in the past. Kodagu’s oranges have good mix of tanginess and sweetness  and are greenish yellow and have a tight skin  unlike their counterpart Nagpur oranges.  However, the high-yielding and fine-flavoured orange that has been an inter-crop among coffee plantations have once again revived.

According to an estimate by the department of Horticulture, 40,000 metric tonne oranges were cultivated in Kodagu last year. It is grown on 3,000 acre land. The horticulture department is being giving new lease of life for the cultivation financial assistance.  There is good demand for oranges during winter. Owing to shortage of labourers, the estate owners lease out the crop for merchants. The orange from Kodagu is seen all over. It is transported to Kerala as well. Gonikoppa Orange Growers Association has started releasing orange juice to the market.

The Association has been selling the oranges in Bengaluru and Mysuru. Oranges are sold for Rs 30 to 40 per kg. In fact, the oranges were cultivated on 1.50 lakh acre  land in Kodagu two decades ago. About 1000 lorries of oranges were sold. However, greening disease in 1999 ruined the cultivation.

Though greening disease is under control, a few growers have not shown keen interest in the cultivation. Many have shifted to black pepper cultivation. In the meantime, Chettalli Horticulture Research Centre is developing a orange species which will have resistance to disease. With this, the growers can hope for reviving the orange cultivation in the district.                                                     

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