Horticulture In India
In India, the major part of horticulture production comprises fruits and vegetables. India has a highly favourable climate for agro-products such as fruits, vegetables, spices, and aromatic plants. The horticulture sector in India produces around 320 million tons of products and contributes about 33% of the Gross Value Addition (GDA). It is a labour-intensive sector and thus provides a lot of employment opportunities, especially for the people of rural regions.
- The innovative and advanced techniques adopted in horticulture have increased production and export opportunities resulting in more growth. In India, 10% of the land in horticulture contributes to 33% of Agricultural Value.
- Over the years, the horticulture sector has emerged as a prominent contributor to overall economic development.
- India has favourable geographical features that help in the growth of a variety of vegetables. More than 40 types of vegetables are grown in different parts of India. India ranks second in the production of vegetables worldwide.
- Fruit production in India constitutes more than 10 per cent of the world’s production. Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka have the major share of fruit production.
- The favourable climatic conditions facilitate the production of a variety of flowers throughout the year in selected regions of the country. The growing demand for flowers among the upper and middle classes for beautification purposes has helped in the growth of floriculture as a well-developed business.
The Growth of Horticulture in India
In India, the productivity of horticulture crops has increased by 38% between 2004-05 and 2019-20. Horticulture production supplies diverse varieties of fruits and vegetables that are a useful source of nutrients as a part of a balanced diet and enhances a healthy lifestyle. So there is a steady increase in demand for these products as people become more concerned about their health and well-being. The increased affluence and trendy lifestyle have also led to a greater requirement for flowers for gift and decoration purposes. The production of horticulture products is economic and convenient as they are more resilient to changing weather conditions. The requirement of area, water, and other resources are much less than other agricultural products and hence reduce the chance of failure thereby giving better returns and income opportunities.
As a part of the initiatives taken by the government, the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) was implemented in 2014. It is a centrally sponsored scheme with a focus on devising plans and processes to facilitate horticulture production efficiently and cost-effectively.
The government of India sponsors 60% of the total developmental expenditure incurred by different states and 40% is contributed by state governments. For North-Indian states, the government contribution is 90%. The main objectives of this scheme are to ensure the overall growth of the horticulture sector through region-specific strategies and action plans. The various activities involve research, technology adaptation and application, harvest management, transportation, storage, processing, and marketing.
It takes into account the diverse agro-climatic features of different regions and focuses on improving productivity with the use of quality planting materials and advanced irrigation facilities. The scheme encourages skill development and participation of local youths in horticulture production that generates employment opportunities. The farmers involved in horticulture production are aggregated into groups to achieve efficiency in terms of volume and cost.
Government Contribution to Horticulture Development In The Different States (as per MIDH):
- Union Territories – 100%
- North Indian States – 90%
- Other States -60%
The Future Scenario of Horticulture in India:
The horticulture sector as a diversified function of the agriculture sector has become a promising source of income opportunities. It contributes towards steady growth for the sector as well as for the economy. India has evolved as a leading producer of horticulture products and emerged as a reliable source for employment generation, income creation, and export promotion. India is likely to gain a prominent place in the world forum with the help of better resource allocation, infrastructure development, technological upgrade, and better policy implementation for the development of the horticulture sector. A conscious effort is required to implement certain initiatives that would lead to the future growth and development of the horticulture sector. Some of the future initiatives are mentioned as follows:
- Import of technologies to improve productivity and skill development in the horticulture sector.
- Application of organic farming methods in horticulture to achieve environmental and economic benefits in the production process.
- Adoption of more standardized processes in horticulture production that help farmers to apply knowledge and skills effectively towards improving production.
- The involvement of more private firms in the horticulture sector can bring more efficiency and export opportunities.
- The government should promote organic horticulture production by encouraging farms with incentives and providing support during the conversion from conventional to organic farming.
- Encourage farmers to adopt Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) by providing certifications. These practices help in producing fruits and vegetable products with improved quality. This in turn will generate more demand from foreign countries and boost export activities.
- The area under horticulture is estimated to increase by 2.7% in FY21 as compared to the previous year.
- The horticulture production in F21 is estimated to gain an increase of 5.8 mt over FY20.
- The agriculture ministry has identified 10 globally popular fruit crops and 10 indigenous fruit crops for promotion.
- There is a scope for enhancing productivity to cater to the estimated demand of 650 mt of fruits and vegetables in India by the year 2050.