June 08, Colombo: The Ministry of Agriculture has decided to establish a mandarin orange zone in Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Badulla districts.
Although oranges are cultivated in many districts in Sri Lanka, there is a great demand of the public for the mandarin oranges imported from foreign countries.
A huge amount of foreign exchange is drawn to foreign countries annually for importing these oranges.
According to the Minister of Agriculture, Mahinda Amaraweera, the government has spent 496 million rupees for the import of oranges in 2022 and 2,407 metric tons of oranges have been imported. But more oranges have been imported in the years before 2022.
In 2019, the amount of oranges imported into Sri Lanka was 7,773 metric tons and the amount spent was 949 million rupees. In this way, 670 million and 735 million rupees have been spent in the years 2020 and 2021 respectively. Most of the imported oranges are mandarin oranges.
The research carried out for the cultivation of mandarin orange species in the country has been successful. Accordingly, the research officers of the Department of Agriculture emphasized that not in the upper parts of the central mountains, but in the lower areas of Badulla, Nuwara Eliya and Kandy districts have been identified as areas with a suitable climate for growing mandarin oranges.
These facts were revealed in a discussion held at the Ministry of Agriculture to utilize the money allocated in the budget in the year 2023 for new cultivation projects.
The Minister of Agriculture, Mahinda Amaraweera, who expressed his opinion in this discussion, stated that it is the government’s goal to grow every crop that can be grown in this country. Therefore, he said that steps will be taken to provide the necessary financial allocations for the cultivation of mandarin oranges in this country.
A project report related to mandarin orange cultivation has been submitted and he instructed the officials of the Department of Agriculture to take steps to establish the mandarin cultivation zone in Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Badulla districts within this year.
By now, as many mandarin orange plants have been planted in the plant nurseries belonging to the Department of Agriculture, it was decided to use them for cultivation.