Less kinnow production expected this year
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Though kinnow has already started flooding the markets, production of this golden fruit is expected to be around 30 to 35 per cent less this year when compared to last year. While the state horticulture department is expecting a harvest between 6.50 lakh tonnes to 7.0 lakh tonnes this year, in 2011-12, the figure was 10 lakh tonne.
The good news is that despite less production, kinnow growers are hopeful of getting higher rates for the fruit this season when compared to last year.
Two reasons are being cited for less production this year — first, the kinnow crop usually gives high yield every alternate year and second, this season, slightly high day and night temperature was noticed at the time of flowering of the crop.
"If the day and night temperature was on lower side at the time of flowering of the fruit in March, then the production would have been much better. But if the temperature is high during flowering, then it affects production," said Citrus Nodal Officer (Punjab) Dr Gurkanwal Singh.
He added: "But the growers must not be disappointed, as the market rate for kinnow is higher than last year. If the average rate was Rs 9 to 10 per kg last year, then this year, it is around Rs 15 per kg. From small to big sized kinnows, the rate varies from Rs 10 per kg to Rs 20 per kg."
Singh further said that kinnow is in huge demand in the domestic market and farmers are supplying to cities like Mumbai and Kolkata. Asked whether the crop will be exported, he said: "After meeting the domestic need, farmers may think about exporting."
"Every year, 2,000 to 2,500 hectares is increased for Kinnow cultivation in Punjab. This year, around 44,000 hectares are being covered. While we wanted to increase production, shortage of technical staff created hindrances. Now, recruitment has started after a gap of 12 years," Singh said.