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Bihar: Shahi litchi of Muzaffarpur to remain costly due to heatwave spells

First Published: 19th May, 2024 8:50 IST

The heatwave conditions swept across various districts of Bihar.

The famous ‘Shahi’ Litchi of Muzaffarpur will remain heavy on the pockets of consumers due to the unfavorable conditions caused by severe heatwaves this year.
The heatwave conditions swept across various districts of Bihar.

Favorable weather is crucial for producing good-quality litchi. Unfortunately, this year, the weather in North Bihar has not been conducive to litchi production.
Muzaffarpur, also known as the “Litchi Kingdom” or the “Litchi Capital of India” because of its high-quality litchi production, typically has favorable weather essential for producing good-quality litchi.
Litchi is cultivated on about 12 thousand hectares in Muzaffarpur. The city is famous for two varieties of litchi: Shahi litchi and China litchi, known for their aroma and quality. Research has found that litchi production thrives in the climate and soil of Muzaffarpur.
However, this year, the weather in North Bihar has not been favorable for litchi production. In Muzaffarpur district, the production of litchi orchards has reduced compared to last year.
According to Budhan Saini, who oversees litchi plantations in Muzaffarpur Majhauli, litchi production this year has decreased significantly. He said that there is a 35 per cent decline in production compared to last year.

“Due to unfavourable weather, litchi will be harvested late this year. Protecting litchi from insects is also a challenging task. Although litchi is being harvested and sent to the market from many gardens in Muzaffarpur, it has not yet ripened properly,” said Saini.
According to records from past years, one lakh metric tonnes of litchi are produced every year. This year, the possibility of production has been considered to be limited to 75 to 80 thousand metric tonnes.
“The royal variety of litchi is the most affected. However, the Chinese variety of litchi orchards is less affected. Due to less rain this year, there is a possibility of producing around 75 to 80 thousand metric tonnes of litchi,” he pointed out.
With the reduced production, the Shahi Litchi of Muzaffarpur will command higher prices in the market this year.
The Shahi litchi of North Bihar was awarded the Geographical Indication (GI) tag in 2018, becoming the fourth agricultural product from the state to receive the certification.
The Litchi Growers Association of Bihar, based in Muzaffarpur, holds the GI registration for Shahi litchi.
India is the second-largest producer of litchi in the world, after China.
Thousands of litchi cultivators in Bihar, which alone produces more than half of the total litchi produced in the country, are facing losses as the heatwave has affected fruit production, cherished across the country in the summer months for its cooling properties. (ANI)

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