Jamshedpur : The litchi growers are happy now following a bumper production with lucrative prices of the delicious, juicy and fleshy seasonal fruit that has already appeared everywhere in the city. The city is flooded with stocks from Gumla, Ranchi, Simdega, Khunti and Ramgarh. Orchards in Ranchi district�s Namkum, Bariatu, Morabadi and areas in around CIP, Kanke, saw the fruit in abundance.
According to Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) sources, 95 percent of nearly 71 million litchi trees in over 8,800 small, medium and big-sized litchi orchards and homesteads had massive blooming this season.
Traders said litchi cultivation has become popular as hundreds of farmers have achieved their self-reliance through farming the fruit on a commercial basis in recent years.
Commercial basis litchi farming has been expanding faster bringing fortunes to hundreds for repeated bumper production and excellent market price in the region.
In the city, litchis are selling for Rs 40 to 80 per kg. It is not unusual for the fruit to sell for Rs 200 per kg in Chennai and Mumbai.
A new research paper has claimed that litchi is not just a rich source of vitamins and minerals but a powerful antioxidant as well and could be a panacea for various ailments.
�Minerals like magnesium, iron, calcium, copper, phosphorus and potassium are abundant in Litchi. It is low in sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol. They are also purported to have some anti-inflammatory properties, aid in gastrointestinal health and have as much fibre as an apple,� it said.
Scientists have also found that other parts of the fruit like the seed, root, bark and flowers could also be used for various medicinal purposes.
This year, the litchi growers might have benefitted the most due to a good harvest if the government had helped them in developing market network as assured time and again. Had the state government equipped its market yards for litchi trade this year or had the Union government provided cargo chartered planes or adequate space in parcel vans in long-distance trains, the picture could have been a bit different, bemoaned.
The traditional system of litchi market is still continuing. Some middlemen from big cities like Delhi, Lucknow and Varanasi come here much before the flowering of the fruit. They purchase orchards from orchard owners and start nourishing the trees by properly irrigating, manuring and spraying booster drugs and insecticides on them.