1.                  INTRODUCTION


Mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata) is most common among citrus fruits grown in India. 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.


2.                  OBJECTIVE
The main objective of this report is to present a bankable one acre model for high quality commercial cultivation of the crop. 
3.                  BACKGROUND

3.1              Area & Production


In India, citrus is grown in 0.62 million ha. area with the total production of 4.79 million tonnes. The area under orange cultivation in India increased by 67% from 1.19 lakh ha. in 1991-92 to 1.99 lakh ha. in 2001-02 and the production increased by 57% (i.e. from 10.58 to 16.60 lakh tonnes). Oranges are mostly grown in the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Orissa, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh.  (Vide Table-1)














Table-1: State-wise Area, Production & Productivity of Orange

during 2001-02




(‘000 Ha.)


(‘000 MT)







Madhya Pradesh












West Bengal
























Source: Database of National Horticulture Board, Ministry of Agriculture ,

Govt. of India.


3.2              Economic Importance

Orange is rich in vitamin C, A, B and phosphorus. Orange is consumed fresh or in the form of juice, jam, squash and syrup. It is the main source of peel oil, citric acid and cosmetics which have international market value.


4.1              Demand and Supply patterns

Citrus industry in India is the third largest fruit industry of the country after mango and banana. India ranks ninth among top orange producing countries contributing 3% to the world’s total orange production. Only 1.72% of the country’s production is exported.


4.2              Export/Import trends


Nagpur mandarin is one of the best mandarins in the world. Production of this fruit crop in central and western part of India is increasing every year. Mrig crop (monsoon blossom) which matures in February-March has great potential for export since arrivals of mandarin fruit in international market are very less during this period.



Selection of desired quality fruit as per specific market demand and careful post-harvest handling to retain most of natural qualities and freshness plays a key role in expanding exports of Nagpur mandarin. At present fruit consignments are being exported to neighbouring countries by road without cooling and any other treatments. For distant markets of Europe, Gulf and South East Asia export by refrigerated container ships is imperative considering viability and sustainability for times to come.


During 2001-02, around 29 thousand   tonnes of fresh oranges were exported to Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Canada, U.S.A., U.K., Germany and Gulf countries viz. Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman (vide Table 2). Fruits exported to neighbouring countries viz. Bangladesh and Nepal are sent by trucks following traditional way of handling and packing without pre-harvest treatments or cooling.


Table-2 : Country-wise export of  fresh oranges from India during 2001-02.




( Tonnes)


(Rs.  in  lakhs)










Sri Lanka





















 Source : APEDA, New Delhi

The trend in export of orange in India during the period 1999-2000 to 2001-02 is given in Graph-3.


















4.3              Analysis and Future Strategy


Producers sell fruits to pre-harvest contractors and fetch unremunerative price. Mandarin growers receive better prices in local market in comparison to sale of fruits at orchards. Transportation cost of fruits and payment to commission agents has major share in market cost. Wide variations in prices were found in different local markets.





Producer’s organizations and co-operative societies should be formed for marketing of mandarin fruits. Fruits should be harvested at proper maturity level. Precautions should be taken for avoiding injuries at the time of harvesting and transportation of fruits to the markets.  There is need to develop alternative marketing channel involving co-operative societies to help the mandarin growers. Steps should be taken to link production, marketing and processing of Nagpur mandarin to avoid seasonal gluts in the markets. Careful harvesting and handling of harvested fruits to maintain their ‘Sales appeal” and delicate flavour is of critical importance for mandarin orange considering its fragileness. Ways and means should be explored for providing cheap packing material and transport facilities. Advance marketing credit/loan facilities should be provided by the banks to the mandarin producers. In the absence of channelised system of marketing, crop insurance policy and minimum support price the citrus growers get meagre prices of mandarin fruits during the productive years. There is need to ensure remunerative price to the mandarin producer, reduction in marketing cost and also to ensure supply of orange at reasonable price to the consumer throughout the year.


5.                  PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY


5.1              Agro-climatic requirements


Mandarins grow successfully in all frost free tropical and sub-tropical regions upto 1,500 m. above m.s.l. An annual rainfall of 100-120 cm. and temperature ranging from 100-350 C is suitable for cultivation of the crop.


Mandarins can be grown in a wide variety of soils but medium or light loamy soils with slightly heavy sub-soil, well-drained with pH of 6.0-8.0 are ideal for cultivation.


5.2              Growing and Potential Belts

Nagpur santra (mandarin) is chiefly grown in Satpura hills (Vidharba region) of Central India, hilly slopes of Darjeeling (West Bengal) and Coorg (Karnataka). In South India, Wynad, Nilgiri, Palney and Shevroy hills are the major mandarin growing belts while hills of Meghalaya (Khasi, Dusha, Garo, Jaintia), Mizoram, Tripura, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh have predominance in mandarins. In Assam, Brahmaputra valley and Dibrugarh districts are famous for mandarin production.




The state-wise growing belts are given in the following :



Growing and Potentials belts


Nagpur, Akola, Amravati, Wardha


Jhalawad, Kota


Chikmagalore, Kodagu, Hassan, Bijapur, Gulbarga, Bagalkot

Madhya Pradesh

Chhindwara, Mandsaur, Betul, Ujjain, Shajapur, Khandwa, Khargone, Dhar, Ratlam


Tinsukia, NC Hills, Karbi Anglong, Kamrup, Goalpara, Dhemaji, Jorhat


Wokha, Tuensang



Tamil Nadu

Dindigul, Salem, Nilgiris

West Bengal



Gajapati, Ganjam, Keonjhar, Kalahandi, Phulbani, Mayurbhanj, Sundergarh, Bargarh, Sambalpur


East & West Khasi, Ri-Bhoi, Garo hills, Jaintia hills


5.3              Varieties Cultivated


Important mandarin orange varieties cultivated in India are Ngapur Santra, Coorg Santra, Khasi Santra, Mudkhed, Shringar, Butwal, Dancy, Kara (Abohar), SZ-IN-COM, Darjeeling Mandarin, Sumithra mandarin, Seedless-182 and Kinnow mandarin.


5.4              Land Preparation


Land is prepared by ploughing, levelling and removing weeds.


5.5              Planting


5.5.1        Planting Material


Mandarin orange is propagated by seeds and also vegetatively propagated by T-budding.


5.5.2        Planting season


Seedlings are mostly transplanted in the month of July-August after commencement of monsoon. Budding should preferably be done in last week of January or first week of February following the ‘T’ or shield budding method.


5.5.3        Spacing


Mandarins are usually planted 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. In north-eastern parts of India, Khasi mandarins are very closely spaced (4.5 m. X 4.5 m.), accommodating more than 500 plants/ha. However, a spacing of 6 m. x 6 m. accommodating 120 plants/acre has been considered for the present model.


5.6              Nutrition


The recommended fertilizer dose interms of N, P & K is given in the following table :


Age of the plant

Year-wise fertilizer applied (g./plant)
















4 & above





About one third of the recommended dose of nitrogen should be applied through organic manures like FYM, cakes etc. In case of non-bearing trees, nitrogen should be applied in split doses during April, August and November; phosphorus in August and November and potassium in November. Nitrogen should be applied in three split doses in case of bearing trees during April, August and November along with 200 g. phosphorus in two split doses in August and November and 100 g. potassium in November for mandarin grown in black clay soil.


5.6.2        Micronutrients


Micro-nutrients viz. zinc, copper, manganese, iron, boron and molybdenum are required in ample quantities. Improper supply of nutrients may cause serious disorders which may lead to decline of the whole orchard. The micro-nutrients should be supplied through foliar spraying.


5.7              Irrigation


Irrigation is provided at an interval of 10-15 days during winter months whereas during summer months it is provided at an interval of 5-7 days.


5.7.1        Drip Irrigation


Water requirement of citrus trees is generally higher than most of the other sub-tropical fruits due to recurrent growth and development.


The water requirement varies from 900 to 1100 mm. per year depending upon the location. Water requirement of young (1-4 years old), middle (5-8 years old) and mature (9 and more) Nagpur mandarin trees varies from 5 to 15 litres/day, 35 to 105 litres/day and 60 to 170 litres/day respectively.


Advantages of drip irrigation : Drip irrigation leads to effective, efficient and economic use of irrigation water and is recommended specially in low rainfall regions of Maharashtra, MP and Rajasthan which are some of the major producing areas. The advantages of using this technology are :


Ø                  Irrigation is controlled as per requirement of evapotranspiration needs.

Ø                  Water is applied directly to the root region of the crop.

Ø                  Improvement in plant growth , yield and quality.

Ø                  High efficiency in water application and use.

Ø                  Water saved compared to flood irrigation is 50-60%.

Ø                  High fertilizer use efficiency.

Ø                  Conservation of soil, water and nutrients.

Ø                  Land leveling work is minimized.

Ø                  Minimum incidence of insect, pest and disease.

Ø                  Continuous cultural operations are possible.

Ø                  Weed infestation is reduced.

Ø                  Minimum labour requirement.


5.8              Training & Pruning


Trees are trained to single stem with 4-6 well-spaced branches for making the basic framework. The lowermost branches are not allowed to grow below the height of 50 cm. from the soil surface.



Pruning is done during the initial years of planting. The bearing trees require little or no pruning. Main objective of pruning the bearing trees is to maintain the framework and to secure higher yields with better quality fruits. Pruning of bearing trees though differs with variety but chiefly consists of removal of dead, diseased, criss-crossed and weak branches. Removal of water sprouts and suckers of rootstocks is also highly essential. Pruning of non-bearing trees can be done at any time of the year, but for bearing trees the best time is after harvesting, during late winter or early spring when these are in somewhat dormant stage. Root pruning is also practiced in some parts of central and southern India to regulate flowering season.


5.9              Intercultural Operations


Pre-emergence herbicides (Diuron @ 3 kg./ha. or Simazine @ 4 kg./ha.) should be sprayed twice at an interval of 120 days from the last week of May for effective and economical control of dicot and monocot weeds in the orchard.


5.10          Mulching


Application of dry leaf mulch or paddy husk to a thickness of about 8 cm. in the basin keeps down the weed growth and decreases the number of irrigations and also improves fruit quality.


5.11          Inter-cropping


Intercrops viz. pea, cowpea and gram can be taken in mandarin orchards.


5.12          Growth regulators
Fruit drop in mandarin orange can be controlled in early stages of fruit development by applying two sprays of growth regulators- 2,4 D (15 ppm.) or GA3 (15 ppm) alongwith Benomyl (1000 ppm.) and urea (1%) after fruit set at monthly interval in May and June. The same spray schedule may be followed in September and October in order to control the pre-harvest fruit drop.
5.13          Crop Regulation
In south and central India, mandarins bloom thrice a year. February flowering is known as ambe bahar; June flowering as mrig bahar and October flowering as hast bahar.  In order to get fruitful yield in any of the three flowering seasons, resting or root exposure or bahar treatment is given in the Deccan region. In this method, roots of the plant are exposed to sun by removing upto 7-10 cm. soil around 40-60 cm. radius of tree trunk. The water is withheld for about a month before flowering. As a result of water stress, leaves show wilting and fall on the ground. At this stage the roots are again covered with a mixture of soil and farmyard manure and irrigated immediately. Subsequent irrigations are given at suitable intervals. Consequently, plants give new vegetative growth, profuse flowering and fruiting. However, in light sandy and shallow soils, exposure of roots should not be practiced and mere withholding of water for 2-3 weeks is sufficient for wilting and defoliation of trees.It depends upon the choice of the grower as to which of the three bahars is to be taken to get maximum profit. As the availability of water is a problem in central India during April-May, the farmers prefer ‘mrig bahar’ so that the plants are forced to rest in April-May and no water is required during the period. Plants put forth new vegetative growth, followed by flowering (July-August) and fruiting during the coming season. Resting treatment is not feasible in north India, as mandarin plants normally rest in winter and flower once a year. 
5.14          Plant Protection Measures
5.14.1    Insect Pests
Devitalization of plants due to poor fruit set, fruit drop both at bearing and maturity stage, stem tunnelling, bark removal, girdling etc., on account of the attack of the different insect pests viz. citrus black fly, citrus psylla, citrus leaf miner, bark eating caterpillar, mealy bugs, citrus aphids, citrus thrips, fruit fly, mites etc. results in poor performance by the tree in terms of quality fruit production. Spraying with insecticides viz. monocrotophos, phosalone, dimethoate, phosphamidon, quinalphos etc. depending upon the type of pest infestation has been found to be effective in most cases.
5.14.2    Diseases


The main diseases reported are twig blight, gummosis, damping off, root and collar rot. The affected plants should be sprayed with Ridomil MZ 72, Bavistin, Benomyl etc. depending on the type of infection.


5.15          Harvesting  and Yield


Fruits are harvested when they attain full size, develop attractive colour with optimum sugar and acid blend. Fruits should be harvested preferably with clipper, shears or secateurs. Mandarins should not be harvested in wet weather or during rains.


Mandarins start bearing from the fourth year but substantial yield can be expected only from 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 mandarin orchards after deducting the first 5 pre bearing years is only 15-20 years. 


Degreening of mandarins by applying ethrel (50 ppm.) one week before the actual date of harvesting has become a commercial practice in most of the developed mandarin growing countries. Further, fruits dipped in 50 ppm. ethrel after harvesting develop golden yellow colour within 5 days of the treatment.  Average yield is 4.8 tonnes/acre.


6.                  POST HARVEST MANAGEMENT


6.1              Grading


Fruits are graded on the basis of their size and colour.  The fruits which are oblong, high collard, immature, puffy, blemished, deformed, deep green coloured, bruised and diseased are removed during the sorting operation.


6.2              Storage


Green or fully ripe fruits can be stored in evaporative cool chamber at 8-100C & 90-95% relative humidity for a period of three weeks after post-harvest treatment with Bavistin (1000 ppm.).  Yellowish green fruits develop attractive yellowish orange in this chamber.


6.3              Packing


The harvested fruits are usually washed with chlorine (1000 ppm.) and after removing the surface water they are coated with stayfresh high shine wax (2.5%) containing Bavistin (4000 ppm.) and finally dried at 500-550C in the tunnel dryer.


Fruits are usually packed in wooden boxes for distant markets, while for local marketing baskets of split bamboo and mulberry are used. Chopped straw and dry grass are mostly used for padding. The fruits should be cleaned and polished lightly with a piece of cloth, before wrapping them in tissue paper or newspaper. Use of ventilated corrugated fibre board cartons in place of wooden boxes is highly beneficial.


6.4              Transportation


Mandarins are generally transported by rail or road as ordinary cargos without refrigeration.



6.5              Marketing


The main channels followed for marketing of mandarin fruits include:


§                     Growers – Pre-harvest contractors – Commission Agents – Retailers – Consumers.

§                     Growers – Wholesalers – Commission Agents – Retailers – Consumers.

§                     Growers – Processing Industries – Commission Agents – Retailers – Consumers.

§                     Growers – Retailers – Consumers.

§                     Growers – Producer Representatives – Exporters.


7.                  TECHNOLOGY SOURCES


Major sources for technology are:


(i)                  National Research Centre for Citrus (ICAR), Amravati Road, Nagpur-440010, Maharashtra.

(ii)                Regional Fruit Research Station, Dr. Punjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Wandali Farm, Tal. Katol, District – Nagpur, Maharashtra.

(iii)               G.B. Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pantnagar, Udhamsingh Nagar, Uttaranchal.

(iv)              Horticulture Research Station, Assam Agriculture University, P.O. Azara, Kahikuchi, Guwahati-781017.

(v)                Progressive growers of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Assam & Gujarat.
















8.                  ECONOMICS OF A ONE ACRE MODEL


8.1              High quality commercial cultivation of the crop by using improved planting material and drip irrigation leads to multiple benefits viz.


·                     Synchronized  growth, flowering and harvesting;

·                     Improved fruit quality;

·                     Early maturity;

·                     Increase in average productivity;

·                     Economy in water application and high water use efficiency;

·                     High fertilizer use efficiency;

·                     Minimum incidence of pests and diseases.


Costs & Returns:


8.2              A one acre plantation of the crop is a highly viable proposition.  The cost components of such a model along with the basis for costing are exhibited in Annexures I & II.   A summary is given in the figure below.  The project cost works out to around Rs.1.75 lakh/Acre.


Figure-I: Cost of Project & Means of Financing

Project Cost:

                                                                                                                  Unit one Acre

                                                                                                                  (Amount in Rs.)

Sl. No.


Proposed Expenditure


Cultivation Expenses




Cost of planting material




Manures & fertilizers




Insecticides & pesticides




Cost of Labour




Others, if any (Power)











Tube-well/submersible pump




Cost of Pipeline




Others, if any, please specify







Drip Irrigation System & including fertigation







Store & Pump House




Labour Shed




Agriculture Equipments







Land Development




Land Leveling












Land, if newly purchased (Please indicate the year)



Grand Total


            @Cost of newly purchased land will be limited to 10% of the total project cost.


8.3              The major components of the model are:


·                     Land Development:  (Rs.4.0 thousand):  This is the labour cost of shaping and dressing the land site.


·                     Fencing (Rs.29.50 thousand):  It is necessary to guard the orchard by suitable fencing to safeguard the valuable produce from poaching.


·                     Irrigation Infra-structure (Rs.45 thousand):  For effective working with drip irrigation system, it is necessary to install a bore well with diesel/electric pumpset and motor.  This is part cost of tube-well.


·                     Drip Irrigation & Fertigation System (Rs.26.50 thousand):  This is average cost of one acre drip system for orange inclusive of the cost of fertigation equipment.  The actual cost will vary depending on location, plant population and plot geometry.


·                     Equipment/Implements (Rs.5.0 thousand):  For investment on improved manually operated essential implements a provision of another Rs. 5.0 thousand is included.


·                     Building and Storage (Rs.35.0 thousand):  A one acre orchard would require minimally a labour shed and a store-cum grading/packing room and pump house.


·                     Cost of cultivation (Rs.30.0 thousand):  This is to cover costs of land preparation and sowing operations, planting material, inputs and power (Annexure-III).


8.4              Labour cost has been put at an average of Rs.70 per man-day.  The actual cost will vary from location to location depending upon minimum wage levels or prevailing wage levels for skilled and unskilled labour.


8.5              Production Cost: The main components are planting material, land preparation, inputs .application (FYM, fertilizers, plant growth regulators, plant protection chemicals etc.), labour cost on application of inputs & inter-cultural and other farm operations, power, harvesting, packing and transportation charges. 


8.6              Recurring Production Cost: During the development period of five years are given in Annexure III and during the post operative period in Annexure III A.


8.7              Returns from the Project:  The yield from the plantation is estimated at 40 qtls. in the first year of bearing rising to 50 qtls.  Valued at Rs.1200/qtl. The return workout to Rs.48.00 thousand in the first year increasing to Rs.60.00 thousand in subsequent years.  It might be added that during the gestation period there will be return from inter crops estimated at around Rs.30.00 thousand per annum.


Project Financing:


8.8.            Balance Sheet:  The projected balance sheet of the model is given at Annexure IV.  There would be three sources of financing the project as below:


                           Source                                              Rs. Thousand


                        Farmer’s share                                               87.50

                        Capital subsidy                                               35.00

                        Term loan                                                        52.50

                        Total                                                              175.00


8.9.            Profit & Loss Account:  The cash flow statement is at Annexure V while Annexure VI projects the profit and loss account of the model.  Gross profit increases from Rs.19.8 thousand per annum in first year to Rs.30.00 thousand per annum in subsequent years.


8.10.        Repayment of Term Loan:  The term loan will be repaid in 11 equated 6 monthly installments with a moratorium of 72 months.  The rate of interest would have to be negotiated with the financing bank. It has been put at 12% in the model (vide Annexure VII).  The repayment schedule has been presented at Annexure VII A.


8.11.        Depreciation calculations are given in Annexure VIII.


Project Viability:


8.12          IRR/BCR:  The viability of the project is assessed in Annexure IX over a period of 15 years.  The IRR works out to 18.1 and the BCR to 1.2.


8.13          The Debt Service coverage ratio calculations are presented in Annexure X.  The average DSCR works out to 2.35. 


8.14          Payback Period:  On the basis of costs and returns of the model, the pay back period is estimated at 7.73 years (vide Annexure XI). 


8.15          Break-even Point:  The break even point will be reached in the 3rd year.  At this point fixed cost would work out to 73% of gross sales - vide Annexure XII.