I read with excitement the news that ZestFest, a celebration dedicated to the flavours and cultural significance of the Khasi Mandarin orange of Meghalaya is being held from December 14 to 17, 2023 in Bengaluru across different malls located in the city.
A few days back, I saw in the news that the Directorate of Horticulture and Agricultural Marketing Board sent 20 metric tonnes of Khasi Mandarin oranges to Dubai.
It is also a great encouragement that Meghalaya has obtained a Geographical Indication (GI) tag for the Khasi Mandarin in 2014 which identified that the famous citrus fruit originated from our State.
However, it is a matter of concern to know that the production of oranges in Meghalaya has dropped significantly for reasons best known to horticultural experts.
A few days back, I was told by many orange sellers in Sohra market that the harvest of oranges was not very encouraging year after year. These farmers came all the way from distant places to sell their oranges at Sohra market and were disappointed with the declining number of oranges in their orchards.
I request the Horticulture Department and ICAR take note of this issue and try to find out the reason for the decline in orange production in our State and also take drastic steps to address the problem so that the popular Khasi Mandarin does not vanish in the coming years.
Peter M. Khongsit
East Khasi Hills