Climate Change

Watch: Why farmers in parched Marathwada are uprooting citrus orchards

In this battle against nature’s fury on the warming planet, the sweet lime orchards have become unfortunate casualties

By DTE Staff
Published: Wednesday 10 April 2024

The scarcity of water in Maharashtra has dealt a death blow to once-vibrant sweet lime orchards of Marathwada region. Farmers in the regions are filled with bitter despair as they are forced to abandon their crops due to the unrelenting drought conditions gripping the region. 

Maharashtra is one of the largest producers of sweet limes in India. These orchards have long been the lifeblood of countless families, their verdant canopy standing as a testament to years of toil and tradition. 

Between 2012 and 2016, the Marathwada region consecutively faced drought or drought-like situations. In November 2018, the state government also declared droughts in 20,000 villages across 26 districts.

In this battle against nature’s fury on the warming planet, the sweet lime orchards have become unfortunate casualties. The thirsty citrus trees demand a steady supply of water to flourish. After years of debt to maintain the fruit trees, the farmers can no longer afford to borrow more money as groundwater tables plummet and irrigation options dry up. 

In the desolate landscape of Tadsona village in Maharashtra’s Beed district, Vitthal Mane stands amidst the remnants of his shattered dreams. With a heavy heart, he has torn apart his once-thriving sweet lime orchard and uprooted all the trees.

For six painstaking years, Mane poured his sweat and toil into nurturing his orchard. With an investment of Rs 4 lakh and the tender care of a dedicated horticulturist, he nurtured over 600 plants spread across three acres of his land. 

This year was supposed to mark the fruition of his efforts, with the fruits expected to fetch him a handsome sum of Rs 6 lakh, making a profit of Rs 2 lakh.

However, the merciless grip of drought on the district suffocated these plans. The once-promising orchard now stands as a stark testament to his shattered hopes, leaving Mane burdened not just emotionally but also financially. 

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