Integrated citrus canopy and nutrient management initiative to revitalize citrus farming in Samtse

Seeing the production of oranges declining over the years, an integrated citrus canopy and nutrient management initiative has been launched in Samtse. As part of the initiative, the Agriculture Research and Development Centre in collaboration with the Samtse Agriculture Sector is teaching orange growers orchard management, irrigation practices, and soil fertility among others. The project is ongoing in six gewogs in Samtse.

For 82-year-old Changala in Tendu Gewog, growing oranges has been a way of life for nearly two decades.

However, he is now seeing a decline in growth and yield, affecting his livelihood.

“I managed to get a few oranges from the trees, which I planted a few years ago. My old trees stopped bearing fruit, and most of them died. I had no option but to inform the agriculture officials stating that my oranges were becoming smaller in size every year. This year’s orange yield was good, but they were all very small in size.”

However, the ongoing integrated citrus canopy and nutrient management initiative in the gewog gives farmers some hope.

“Numerous orange growers in the country currently lack awareness about proper orange tree care. Our training initiatives focus on imparting essential skills, such as effective orange tree maintenance, including pruning techniques. Moreover, we provide valuable insights into sustaining soil fertility,” said Ratu Kinley, Focal of the Food Security and Agriculture Productivity Project of ARDC in Gelephu.

The project is aimed at empowering citrus growers with enhanced knowledge and resources to revitalise the citrus industry.

According to a recent soil survey in Samtse, it was found that the soil is acidic, with pH levels ranging from 4.5 to 6.5.

The project aims to adjust the pH between six and 6.5 to enhance nutrient availability for the plants.

To help tackle water scarcity challenges faced by orange growers in certain regions, the initiative will also offer support in the form of irrigation pipes, water tanks, and cost-effective water harvesting ponds.

The project is as part of the Food Security and Agriculture Productivity Project supported by the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme.

The first-of-its-kind project is expected to benefit six gewogs in Samtse, which are known for large-scale orange production.

Passang Dorji, Samtse

Edited by Tshering Zam

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