English | Dzongkha Sunday, February 23, 2020

Orange price drops, suppliers worried

Jan 30, 2012

Local orange suppliers in Tsirang and Dagana are incurring losses this year due to low orange price in the international market.

The price of orange this time has come down to US$ 19 or over Nu. 900 a box for big oranges compared to around US$ 25 or about Nu. 1,200 last year. The small oranges are sold at US$ 16 or Nu. 780 a box this year. This is around US$ six or Nu. 290 less than previous year.

Our reporter, Pema Namgay, in Tsirang says that many orange orchards in Tsirang and Dagana are still waiting to be plucked. Last year, the orange season ended much earlier than this year. Local orange suppliers are hoping for a last minute increase in the orange prices.  But with only few days left for the orange season to end, they are worried.

“Last time one businessman came and offered me Nu. 3,50,000. After the price dropped, he never came back,” said Tek Bahadur, an orchard owner. Last year, he said, he earned Nu. 2,50,000. “This year I could not sell it. If the price is good, two to three suppliers come to buy your oranges. But this year it’s different.”

The low orange price has not affected the orchard owners since they have already sold their oranges to local suppliers’ months ago. The local suppliers paid more money to buy oranges from farmers expecting a better price like last year. But, after orange prices dropped in the market, they are now finding it difficult to sell their oranges. They are blaming the limited market for oranges for low price.

“Local suppliers expected high orange price and paid more to the orchard owners. Now they could not take it to the auction yard since they are incurring loss up to Nu. 300,000,” said Man Bahadur Subha.

Local suppliers are,howeve,rexpecting to recover the loss next year if both the price and yield improve. But, they are concerned about the dwindling orange yield due to citrus diseases. They are afraid that oranges may suffer the fate of cardamom. Cardamom used to be the main source of cash income in Tsirang and Dagana, before it was wiped out by a disease.

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