Orange Trees Climb Higher in Bhutan with Climate Change

Email

“Since the upper altitude regions are bearing more oranges than lower altitude regions, we believe it’s due to the global warming effect. This is because a decade ago it was only in lower altitude regions that the oranges were grown.”

Growing oranges in Bhutan. (Source: http://thebhutanese.bt/)

 

Since the last three decades or so, cash crops such as oranges have provided farmers with a livelihood. Orange is considered one of the main cash crops other than cardamom in Bhutan.

Up till a few years ago Dagana and Tsirang exported an average of 24,000 metric tonnes of mandarins a year.

In recent years, the farmers in Dagana noticed the shift in the growth of oranges from lower to higher altitude regions. However, it is assumed that the cause is mainly due to climate change.

“Since the upper altitude regions are bearing more oranges than lower altitude regions, we believe it’s due to the global warming effect. This is because a decade ago it was only in lower altitude regions that the oranges were grown.”

Increase in the production of oranges at higher altitude

A farmer from Goshi Gewog, Purna Gurung, 54, said that the size and growth quantity of oranges in lower elevation has reduced while the upper elevation areas has started bearing bigger oranges along with increased production.

“It’s disheartening in one way because orange is a main cash crop, on the other hand it is good to know that farmers in the upper region are now getting an opportunity to grow it.”

Karna Gewog Gup Lhawang Dorji recalls how the oranges used to be exported in trucks adecades ago.

“The oranges are usually loaded in trucks to export, gradually the medium of supply changed from truck to DCM and from DCM to Bolero,” he said. He said that in recent years, it has been a struggle to even fill-up Boleros to export oranges.

Passang Tshering, the District Agriculture Officer of Dagana said, “The suitable altitude for the growth of orange is actually 1,100 meters above the sea level, but the growth pattern has shifted to 1,200 meters above the sea level in recent years,” he added

Other factors, he said is a result of the erratic rainfall pattern which can also hamper the growth of fruits and vegetables due to the poor retention of moisture by soil. “Earlier, the rainfall was timely, so people did not need to water the plants.”

He, however, said that the farmers are now aware of the causes and are encouraged to try the plantation of new fruits such as mangoes and other fruits which suit the present climatic conditions.

Diversification of crops

“As a response to the low orange production, we have asked the farmers to diversify their products promoting other sub-tropical fruits,” said Passang.

“Other crops such as mangoes, kiwi, avocados and cardamom, studying the variation in climate and altitude can serve as an alternates,” he added.

As a measure to curb the further decline of the production of oranges, the Nation Citrus Program (NCP) under the agriculture ministry made guidelines on how to revive the growth of oranges. The NCP Coordinator, Jigme Tenzin said that the mandarin production has drastically declined over the years.

Apart from Dagana, he said that the other regions like the Tsirang, Sarpang, Samtse, Samdrup Jongkhar, Zhemgang and Pemagatshel districts are faced with similar problems.

Some other reasons for the poor production, he said can be due to poor management. “Our farmers still practice the traditional way which is why orange are declining” he said.

He pointed out that the other reason can also be due to the ageing of plants whereby the productive phase of the plant gets exhausted. In such cases, he said that replantation can strengthen the scope of reviving the growth.

He said that the improvement in irrigation channels will aid growth by retaining the required moisture for the soil. He said that the other solution such as the rejuvenation and canopy management of the plant can also help to recover the growth of oranges.

 

By Tshering Delma (This article first appeared in The Bhutanese and has been edited for the Daily Bhutan)

 


Related Posts

Eastern Farmers Cashing In On Watermelon Cultivation

Farmers said that growing watermelons is easier than cultivating other cash crops like chillies and potatoes, since...

Jan 28, 2018 16:34

Farmers in Samtse Ready To Reap Quinoa

Farmers in Samtse are gearing up to harvest quinoa, a new crop which they started cultivating on a small scale as a...

Jan 18, 2018 07:18

Growing Black Sesame in Nichula

“The weather and soil are suitable for this crop,” the manager said, adding that the Farm Machinery Centre (FMC) in...

Feb 02, 2018 07:17

Gasa lives the organic dream

Organic dream to be lived in!

Jul 29, 2017 16:54

Cultivating Hazelnuts in Bhutan

All across Bhutan, thousands of farmers are partnering with Mountain Hazelnuts to cultivate millions of hazelnut trees...

Feb 27, 2018 10:03

Farmers in Bumthang Revive Buckwheat Cultivation

Buckwheat cultivation in Bumthang has been on a declining trend over the last few decades. However, the district is now...

Oct 14, 2017 06:10

Latest

News

Snowman Run – As Important As It Is For Bhutan, The Run Is For The World

The run was envisioned by His Majesty The King after multiple visits to the highlands.

Oct 14, 2019 20:28

Bhutan To Be First Country To Achieve Universal Health Coverage: Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering

The ultimate objective is to provide access to health care for all people.

Sep 29, 2019 00:28

Features

Weavers Of The Much Sought After Kharza-Kop Bags From Jangphutse, Bhutan

For generations, women in this hamlet in Bhutan have been weaving bags as their main occupation.

Oct 16, 2019 23:28

Patra – Bhutanese Art Of Wood Carving

Patra carvings can be found in the production of books, images, architectural designs, furniture and many other wooden artefacts.

Oct 10, 2019 10:18

Sports

Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08

Tour Of The Dragon – Toughest One Day Bike Race Starts On 7 September In Bhutan

It takes sheer toil and stamina for the top riders to complete the 268 km race which finishes at the capital, Thimphu.

Sep 06, 2019 23:58

Business

Cottage & Small Industries Flagship Programme Rolled Out In Bhutan, Set To Create More Jobs

The CSI sector was identified as one the flagship programme in view of its greater socio-economic roles in Bhutan.

Oct 11, 2019 15:38

Bhutan’s Himalayan Food Aims To Produce Healthy Snacks With A Worldwide Reach

Himalayan Food currently produces potato chips, apple chips and banana chips.

Sep 25, 2019 23:58

Travel

7th Jomolhari Mountain Festival Showcases Unique Culture Of The Highlanders

The festival has become an important event where the highlanders get to showcase their unique culture and traditions.

Oct 15, 2019 23:28

Plans In The Pipeline To Set Up More Homestays In Sakteng, Eastern Bhutan

We are hopeful that our homestay business in Sakteng will boom with the increase in the number of tourists."

Oct 12, 2019 12:43

Lifestyle

Launch Of Karen Greenspan’s Footfalls From The Land Of Happiness: A journey Into The Dances Of Bhutan

The book delves into familiar subjects that are what continues to shape Bhutan’s image.

Oct 05, 2019 10:18

Critically Acclaimed Film - Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, Showcases The Magic Of Bhutan’s Highlands

Directed by Pawo Choyning Dorji, this highly acclaimed movie has been accepted for more than 10 international film festivals.

Sep 23, 2019 23:28

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!