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How to Start a Profitable Orange Farming Business

Do you want to start a commercial orange farming business with low capital investment? Find here a detailed orange cultivation business plan for your ready reference.

Orange is economically an important fruit worldwide. The orange has its origin in Southern China, Northern and East India, and Southeast Asia. Nowadays, around six continents in over 100 countries grow orange throughout the year.

The scientific name of the sweet orange is Citrus sinensis. And it belongs to the Rutaceae family. It occupies nearly 40% of the total area under citrus cultivation in India. The most important commercial citrus species in India are the mandarin (Citrus reticulata), sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), and acid lime (Citrus aurantifolia) sharing 41, 23, and 23 % respectively of all citrus fruits produced in the country.

Is Orange Farming Profitable?

The citrus industry in India is the third-largest fruit industry in the country after mango and banana. India ranks ninth among the top orange-producing countries. In addition, the country contributes around 3% of the world’s total orange production. However, India exports only 1.72% of the country’s production in the global market.

Apart from fresh fruit and juice consumption, the orange is an essential item for the food processing industry. Different types of processed foods include packaged fruit juice, squash, jam, jelly, and marmalade. In addition, orange peels are important ingredients in some Chinese cuisine.

Health Benefits of Orange

There are several benefits of oranges. Some of them are listed below:

  • First of all, orange is a rich source of Vitamin C
  • Oranges contain phytochemicals that protect against cancer.
  • Additionally, orange juice can help prevent kidney diseases.
  • Mandarin oranges fight liver cancer, according to studies.
  • In addition, oranges lower cholesterol.
  • The fruits are rich in potassium and boost heart health.
  • The fruit regulates high blood pressure.
  • Finally, oranges are full of dietary fiber which stimulates digestive juices and relieves constipation.

Here are the 5 Steps to Start Orange Farming Business

1. Create a Business Plan

First of all, you must have a business plan before starting the business. Basically, a business plan provides a comprehensive guide about the input cost, projected return, and profitability.

Alike any other fruit farming business, you will not get any return before harvesting the fruits. That is why you must have the financial preparation to carry on the cultivation.

Orange crops demand irrigation in the time of winter and summer seasons. So you must have the proper irrigation facility.

Finally, apart from fresh fruit selling, you must have some business tie-ups with the food processing industries.

2. Choos the Best Varieties for Commercial Orange Farming

Some of the important Indian varieties are Nagpur Santra, Coorg Santra, Khasi Santra, Mudkhed, Shringar, Butwal, Dancy, Kara (Abohar), SZ-IN-COM, Darjeeling Mandarin, Sumithra mandarin, Seedless-182, and Kinnow mandarin.

Worldwide the commonly cultivated varieties (cultivars) include:

  • Washington navel, which is suitable for direct eating as a table fruit (dessert). The fruit is seedless. It matures early in the season.
  • Valencia, with a lot of juice and therefore suitable for juice extraction. This cultivar matures late in the season and this is advantageous. The juice has highly soluble solids. The fruit has rough skin.
  • Hamlin has good juice extraction properties. It is a small fruit with smooth and shiny skin.
  • Additionally, other popular varieties are Kuno navel, Nova, and Minneola.

3. Check the Agro Climatic Condition For Orange Farming

Mandarins grow successfully in all frost-free tropical and sub-tropical regions up to 1,500 m. above m.s.l. However, annual rainfall of 100-120 cm. and temperature ranging from 10° – 35°C are suitable for the cultivation of the crop. A dry hot day and cool at-night climate also favor good color development.

However, extremely high temperatures are harmful, especially during flowering or if cool temperatures are followed by a hot period. Damage occurs in the form of flower and leaf drops. Additionally, winds can also cause serious damage to orange trees and fruits.

4. Suitable Soil For Orange Farming

Orange grows over a wide range of soils. However, the light, well-drained (sandy) soils are ideal. For good production oranges require well-distributed rainfall or supplementary irrigation throughout the year. Therefore, a good source of water is essential in orange farming.

Generally, water requirements vary according to weather conditions, but as a whole, the ideal range is between 450mm –
2,700mm per year.

Related Post: Is Soil Testing Important In Agriculture? 

5. Orange Cultivation Basic Steps for Orange Farming

a) Planting of Orange Seeds

Orange propagates in many different ways. You can go for propagation from seeds and also vegetative propagation by T-budding. You can transplant the seedlings mostly in the month of July-August after the commencement of the monsoon.

Usually, you can plant the mandarins in pits of 50 cm. X 50 cm. X 50 cm. size in a square system with a spacing of 4.5-6 m., accommodating 350-450 plants/ha.

b) Irrigation for Orange Farming

You must provide irrigation at an interval of 10-15 days during the winter months and at an interval of 5-7 days during the summer months. Drip irrigation leads to the effective, efficient, and economic use of irrigation water. Especially, you can opt for drip irrigation in low-rainfall regions.

However, you must provide regular watering all the way up to fruiting, depending on weather conditions. After the trees are fully grown leave it as a mono-crop. Citrus is easily affected by root rot as other intercrops are being cultivated. Avoid planting the cover crop very close to the orange stalk.

c) Manuring

Normally, you can apply Sodium Super Phosphate (SSP) to the soil before planting at a rate of half a kg per hole. Additionally, you can add about 10-20kg of manure to the soil.

Also, you can apply NPK fertilizer at the rate of half a kg per plant per year of growth, split into 2-3 applications per year i.e. apply about 250 gm per rainy season. Increase the fertilizer by about 300 gms NPK per year of growth up to year 10 when each tree gets 2.5 – 3 kg per year. Additionally, you can add farmyard manure also.

As per the soil testing report, you must add micronutrients also.  An improper supply of nutrients may cause serious disorders which may lead to the decline of the whole orchard. However, you must supply the micro-nutrients through foliar spraying. Some of the major required micronutrients are zinc, copper, manganese, iron, boron, and molybdenum.

Relate Post: Most Profitable Cash Crops to Grow 

d) Weed control for Orange Cultivation

Generally, weeds compete with young oranges. The weed before the weeds flower to prevent the production of more seeds. Do not dig through as this will damage roots and cause root rot disease. Ring weed
around the plants to get a weed-free area for irrigation and application of manure or other fertilizers. Keep the fields weed-free to avoid fruit and leaf spots.

In case you are using a herbicide, spray in the inter-rows-avoiding drift to the plants. In this case, there should be no intercrop. Where mulching materials are available, mulching is encouraged.

e) Harvesting & Yield of Oranges

First of all, you can harvest the fruits when they attain full size, and develop attractive colors with optimum sugar and acid blend. You must harvest the fruits preferably with clippers, shears, or secateurs. However, you must not harvest mandarins in wet weather or during rain.

Mandarins start bearing from the fourth year. However, you can expect a substantial yield only from the sixth year onwards. Mandarin produces 500-800 fruits after about 9-10 years. However, its plants attain the level of full bearing at the age of 10-12 years. The net productive life span of orange orchards after deducting the first 5 pre-bearing years is only 15-20 years. However, if you go for the treatment, you also get still substantial yield from your orange cultivation business.