Crisis Grips Kinnow Industry in Punjab as Growers Face Harvesting Woes and Plummeting Prices

Crisis Grips Kinnow Industry in Punjab as Growers Face Harvesting Woes and Plummeting Prices

Kinnow growers in Punjab are facing potential losses this season as almost half of the 13 lakh tonnes of the crop remain unharvested, despite the season coming to an end in less than two months.

Plummeting Prices and Government Intervention

  1. Farm Gate Prices:
    • The average farm gate price for kinnow is currently ₹6 to ₹11 per kg, significantly lower than the expected ₹20 per kg.
  2. Government Intervention:
    • Farmers are urging the Punjab government to intervene and address their concerns. One proposed solution is to provide kinnow in mid-day meals for students.

Factors Contributing to Low Rates

  1. Customs Duty Hike by Bangladesh:
    • Stakeholders attribute the low rates to a three-fold increase in customs duty by the Bangladesh government, the largest importer of kinnow. The duty rose from ₹20 per kg in 2019 to ₹63 per kg in the previous year.
  2. Market Dynamics and Demand:
    • Ongoing cold conditions have resulted in a lack of demand for kinnows, contributing to the crash in rates.

Impact on Farmers and Market Dynamics

  1. Market Challenges:
    • Despite a bumper crop, there is poor demand, leading farmers to face difficulties in selling their produce at satisfactory rates.
  2. Contractual Challenges:
    • Some farmers had to finalize contracts to sell their produce at significantly reduced rates due to market conditions. Contractors even abandoned harvesting midway, leaving farmers in a difficult situation.

Proposals for Government Support

  1. Call for Government Support:
    • Progressive kinnow growers are urging the government to support them during this challenging time. Suggestions include replacing bananas with locally grown kinnow in government schools to boost demand.
  2. Grower Perspectives:
    • Farmers express disappointment over the lack of buyers and the small size of fruits, leading to reduced offers of ₹6 to ₹11 per kg.

Official Statements and Statistics

  1. Record Kinnow Production:
    • Official estimates indicate a record production of 13 lakh tonnes of kinnow this season.
  2. Government Response:
    • Balwinder Singh, the nodal officer of the state horticulture department’s citrus fruits division, highlights the challenges faced by kinnow growers. He mentions that the prolonged cold wave has impacted local demand, and there is limited scope for improvement in farm gate rates.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) with Answers:

  1. What is the average farm gate price of kinnow in Punjab this season?
    • a) ₹20 per kg
    • b) ₹6 to ₹11 per kg
    • c) ₹63 per kg
    • d) ₹13 per kg
    • Answer: b) ₹6 to ₹11 per kg
  2. Which factor is NOT mentioned as a contributor to the low rates of kinnow?
    • a) Small size of fruits
    • b) Customs duty hike by Bangladesh
    • c) Excessive rainfall
    • d) Lack of demand due to cold conditions
    • Answer: c) Excessive rainfall
  3. What is the proposed solution suggested by farmers to address the situation?
    • a) Increase customs duty on kinnow
    • b) Provide kinnow in mid-day meals for students
    • c) Export more kinnow to Bangladesh
    • d) Shift to cultivating a different crop
    • Answer: b) Provide kinnow in mid-day meals for students
  4. Which region is mentioned as the hub of kinnow cultivation in the country?
    • a) Saidanwali village
    • b) Abohar belt in Fazilka
    • c) Balwinder Singh
    • d) Arvind Setia
    • Answer: b) Abohar belt in Fazilka
  5. What is the primary reason stated for the lack of demand for kinnows in the market?
    • a) High farm gate prices
    • b) Prolonged cold wave
    • c) Increased kinnow production
    • d) Successful contracts with farmers
    • Answer: b) Prolonged cold wave