About Junar

JUNAR (Sweet orange) "A indigenous Fruits of Nepal"

Historical background

According to Tanaka, 1994, citrus might have appeared on the globe about 30 million years ago but the history of Junar production in Nepal is only about 250 years ( Kaini, 2043).Farmers used to grow few trees of Junar near their houses for home consumption till late seventies and then after, the economic importance of Junar was started to realize. Junar development program started to receive support of the government from the sixth plan period (1980-85). The National Citrus Priority Program was initiated in 20 mid-hill districts of Nepal in the fiscal year 1983/84 and this program accorded high priority to Junar development in Ramechhap and Sindhuli. In order to support implementation of this program, a Special Junar Production Program was then launched by the Janakpur Agriculture Development Project (JICA funded) in these two districts giving emphasis on establishment of private nurseries and Junar orchards.A very strong commitment of the government along with an effective organizational setup was the specialty of this program. The initiation of the Horticulture Development Project in 1985 with the technical cooperation of the Government of Japan added one more milestone in Junar development. This project was implemented for 12 years including 2 years of bridging period and Junar was the designated crop for Sindhuli and Ramechhap.

During its first phase, the project emphasized on development of production technology and in the second phase, transfer of developed technology got top priority. In order to make extension services effective for the transfer of technology, emphasis was given on training and establishment of demo-farms at the farmers' fields. The Agriculture Perspective Plan (APP) implemented from 1997 for a period of 20-years has recognized Junar as a high value commodity. The APP Support Program (APP/SP) funded by the DFID had also contributed to the Junar Development Program of Sindhuli and Ramechhap districts in the recent past. All past efforts were, mostly, focused on plantation and post-harvest handlings and marketing activities were ignored. Furthers more, farmers were reluctant to manage Junar orchards due to the market problem. Realizing these facts, the OVOP JunarProgram has been started from 2006/07 giving emphasis on improvement of orchard management, post-harvest handlings and value chain functioning

Botanical classification and brief descriptions

The basic botanical classification of junar from order to species is as follows:
Order : Geraniales (21 family)
Sub-Order : Garaniinea (12 families)
Family : Rutaceae (7 sub-families)
Sub-family : Aurantoidae (2 tribes)
Tribe : Citrae (13 genera)
Genus : Citrus
Species : sinensis

Normally, the trees grown from seeds are 10-12 meter tall and grafted trees attain a height range of 6-10 meter depending on the rootstocks and soil conditions. Junar is an evergreen tree with obloid shape. Its fruits are globose or subglobose in shape and color of skin is light or dark orange. The weight of a normal sized Junar fruit ranges from 140 gm to 200gm and the sugar contents of Sindhuli and RamechhapJunar are reported to be 9-14 percent. For Junar, temperatures ranging from 25-32 degree Celsius are considered ideal for optimum growth and production. Well drained and medium loamy soils without any hard pan in the subsoil within the root zone are considered good for Junar growing. Junar prefers soils with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. Such climatic and soil conditions are available in areas of mid-hill districts within an altitude range of 900 to 1300 meter.

Area and production

Citrus fruits having commercial potential in Nepal are mandarins (Citrus reticulata Blanco), sweet orange particularly Junar (Citrus sinensisOsbeck), lime (Citrus aurantifolia Swing), lemon (Citrus lemon Lin) and hill-lemon (Citrus pseudolemon). The production of these crops in 2012 was 179thousand ton, 51 thousands ton, 23 thousand ton and 7 thousand ton respectively. Among all citrus fruits, Junar is the second both in terms of production and area coverage. According to NCDP Report 2012, Junar is grown in 49districts of Nepal, but the districts having significant amounts of itsproduction are Sindhuli, and Ramechhap. These two districts are well known for commercial Junar production and their share in total Junar production is 55 percent. In 2012, Junar has occupied 1359 ha of land in Sindhuli and 1039 ha of land in Ramechhap. Similarly, the production figures for the same year were reported to be 15279 metric ton for Sindhuli and 11840 metric ton for Ramechhap. It clearly indicates that Sindhuli is the number one district both in terms of area coverage and production. A map of Nepal showing Junar producing districts and eight top districts in Junar production and area coverage are given hereunder.

Potentialities and opportunities

i. As Junar is grown in bari land, ample opportunities are there for extension of areas under its cultivation.It is grown in almost all mid-hill areas (900-1400 msl) of the country.
ii. Junar has a comparative advantage in the mid-hills of Nepal due to suitable agro-climatic and soil conditions.
iii. Compared to the traditional food grain crops as maize, wheat and millet, cultivation of Junar has been found more profitable.
iv. Junar farming provides good source of cashincome to small and low income farmers.
v. Junar value chain creates employment opportunities for the all kinds of people.
vi. The demands for Junar are growing in the country as well outside the country. There are opportunities for marketing of fresh fruits as well as processed products.
vii. Junar are refreshing and delicious to eat and it is used to make delicious and refreshing cold drinks, squashes, jam, jelly and marmalade.
viii. Junar are also rich sources of minerals and vitamins.
ix. Junar are environment friendly for hill agriculture.