Rising Horticulture

by Dec 19, 2023Agriculture0 comments

India’s horticulture sector has proven to be more profitable and productive than the agricultural sector and has emerged as a rapidly growing industry


As per the 2nd advance estimates for 2022-23, the total horticulture production in India is estimated to be 351.92 Million Tonne, surpassing the total foodgrain production of 329.69 Million Tonne during the year, according to Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda.

At present, India is the second largest producer of vegetables and fruits in the world. Country ranks first in the production of a number of crops like Banana, Lime & Lemon, Papaya, Okra.

Horticulture production in the country has been steadily increasing over the years due to the proactive policies and initiatives of the Government of India and the State Governments and the improved crop production technologies and management practices.

For the holistic development of horticulture, for increasing area, production and creation of post-harvest infrastructure, the Government is implementing Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), a Centrally Sponsored Scheme in the States/UTs since 2014-15. Under MIDH, support for production of quality planting material, area expansion of fruits, vegetables, spices and plantation crops, protected cultivation and creation of post-harvest management infrastructures, training and capacity building etc., of farmers are provided.

The project proposals of State Governments for horticulture development are also supported under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).

It may be noted that horticulture contributes around 30.4% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) while using only 13.1% of the gross cropped area, making it a significant player in India’s agricultural growth. As noted above, in recent years, the total horticulture production in India has even exceeded the total production of food grains, highlighting the potential of the sector. Horticulture not only contributes to opportunities in rural areas, expands the range of agricultural activities, and generates higher incomes for farmer.

However, despite the fact that India’s horticulture sector is growing, the country’s share in global trade remains insignificant, accounting for only 1% of the global trade in vegetables and fruits.

Export growth is being undermined by production challenges, marketing challenges, inadequate transport infrastructure, fragmented supply chains, and insufficient storage facilities. These factors result in delays and wastage and discourage farmers from improving the quality of their produce.

But, despite the numerous constraints faced by the horticulture sector, there are several opportunities for improvement. One such opportunity is the Agricultural Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index, launched by the NITI Aayog, which ranks states and union territories based on their implementation of provisions proposed under the model APMC Act, joining the e-NAM initiative, providing special treatment to fruits and vegetables for marketing, and tax levies in mandis.

The Government is also working on reducing crop losses through the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), which provides comprehensive crop insurance coverage from pre-sowing to post-harvest losses against nonpreventable natural risks.

Another key initiative is the Centre’s Cluster Development Programme which has the potential to revolutionise the value chain by enhancing its scale. The programme aims to promote the integrated and market-led development of pre-production, production, post-harvest, logistics, branding, and marketing activities by leveraging the geographical specialisation of horticulture clusters.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries has launched several schemes aimed at promoting the food processing industry in India, including the creation of cold chain infrastructure, agro-processing clusters, backward and forward linkages, preservation infrastructure, Operation Greens, and Mega Food Parks. These schemes provide various facilities to food processing units, such as storage, testing labs, and logistics, while also stabilising the supply and prices of perishable commodities and promoting their value addition.

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