Hot weather triggers early orange ripening

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WHILE the prevailing dry weather is frustrating crop and livestock farmers’ efforts, those into citrus farming are enjoying it with the marketing season expected to start soon, thanks to the early ripening of fruits.

The quick ripening of oranges will result in improved supplies of the fruit on the local markets.

Knowledge Transfer Africa (KTA) chief executive officer Dr Charles Dhewa recently commented saying: “Oranges supplies at the markets have improved significantly because of the early ripening of the fruits with prices ranging from US$8 to US$10 for a 10kg pocket.

He added that, the prevailing climatic conditions have led to orange harvesting starting much earlier than usual. The early ripening of the fruits comes with good quality and optimal sweetness making them very appealing to consumers seeking fresh and flavourful citrus options.

“Farmers in Chegutu and Mazowe are bringing in the fruit, which is a making significant impact in meeting the demand for oranges. Their dedication and expertise in cultivating citrus crops has resulted in plentiful harvests contributing to the availability of locally grown oranges in the market.

“In addition to the locally sourced oranges, imports from South Africa are supplementing the supplies with the imports helping to diversify the range of available varieties and flavours for consumers,” he said.

The early marketing season for oranges presents an opportunity for farmers to make money early while consumers get a variety of tastes. Farmers can take advantage of the high demand and potentially favourable prices for their produce, while consumers can enjoy a wider selection of fresh, juicy oranges.

Meanwhile, mango supplies have this season recorded a decline compared to last year although the fruit is still available in the market despite the low production. The fruit also experienced early ripening due to the dry and hot weather at the beginning of the year.

Although the mango season has come to an end, there are still fruits in the local markets with prices remaining stable at US$3 a box leading to a more balanced market.

It is important to note that these developments in the fruit market reflect the impact of climatic change on agricultural production. The early ripening of oranges and the decline in mango volumes highlights the need for farmers to adapt to changing weather patterns and other environmental factors. Such adaptability plays a crucial role in ensuring a stable supply of fruits and meeting consumer demands. – Herald