Why was Orange Recognized as National Fruit?

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Why was Orange Recognized as National Fruit?

April 15: The cabinet meeting held on April 12 decided to recognize orange as the national fruit of Nepal. The National Fruit Development Center under the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development proposed that six fruits including mango, orange, banana, hog plum, pear and apple can be recognized as national fruits. But the Council of Ministers decided to recognize orange as the national fruit since oranges are cultivated in many districts.

Surya Prasad Baral, senior horticultural development officer of the National Fruit Development Center said in a conversation with New Business Age, "Oranges have been recognized as national fruit because they are commercially cultivated in at least 100 hectares per district in a total of 42 districts."

According to him, the availability of other proposed fruits is not more than three months in a year, but the availability of domestically produced oranges lasts for 4 to 5 months.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, orange farming was done on 27,982 hectares of land in Nepal in the fiscal year (FY) 2078/79. The total production in the review year stood at 185,346 metric tons.

In addition to expand the cultivation of oranges, the government also aims to introduce oranges as the native fruit of Nepal in the world market.

Sabnam Sivakoti, spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, said that orange has been recognized as the national fruit with the main objective of establishing Nepal's Geographical Indication rights of oranges. Geographical Indication rights are recognized as intellectual property in international trade and are also protected as intellectual property.

The National Intellectual Property Policy 2073 has defined geographical indications as intellectual property. The revised Industrial Enterprises Act in 2076 also recognized geographical indications as intellectual property.

An item that has received a geographical indication indicates a certain characteristic of a certain geographical area. The price of such items is more expensive than other similar items due to their quality. An example of this is Darjeeling tea, whose price is higher than other black teas.

India and Pakistan are fighting for the geographical indication of basmati rice. According to government officials, it is difficult for a small country like Nepal to produce large quantities, so it can benefit from producing and selling high-value items in small quantities.

The Agreement on Trade in Intellectual Property of the World Trade Organization has provided a legal basis for recognizing geographical indications as intellectual property. According to government officials, legal provisions to identify certain objects in certain geographical areas are also necessary. According to Sivakoti, in order to claim the geographical indication of orange at the international level, some amendments should be made in the current law.

"The process for that has also started. If the law is passed, it will open the way for us to obtain geographical indication rights not only for oranges but also for other fruits," she told New Business Age. Although oranges have been recognized as the national fruit of Nepal, sweet orange is actually the native fruit of the country, says Chavi Poudel, a crop expert at the National Agriculture Research Council.

According to the National Fruit Development Center, orange farming in Nepal provides direct employment to 700,000 people every year. In addition, Baral said that the annual turnover from commercial farming of oranges is worth Rs 30.614 million. According to the center, Nepal's oranges are currently being exported to Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Japan and other countries. Nepal also wants to export oranges to China.

However, China said maintained its stance that it will only import disease-free oranges. Sivakoti expressed the belief that since the process for this is ongoing, it is likely to be exported from next year. In addition to local production, Nepal also imports oranges. According to the Department of Customs, Nepal imported 15,506 metric tons of oranges worth Rs 884.1 million last year. The department said that oranges were imported from India, China, Egypt and other countries. According to the data of the Ministry, the contribution of oranges to the total domestic production of Nepal's agricultural sector is 0.96 percent.

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