Horticulture Sector in India

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Horticulture Sector

India with its diverse climate, ample sunlight and rich soil is among the top horticulture producers in the world. Horticulture contributes around 25-30% to the agriculture GDP of the country and supports the country’s economy by generating large scale employment as well as supplementing income in rural areas. In 2013-14, the country produced 84 million tonnes of fruits and 170 million tonnes of vegetables.

Horticulture is now considered a key area for diversification within the Indian agricultural sector owing to its gaining commercial importance. The present scenario of depleting water and energy resources is generating interest in horticulture considering the possibility of converting arid lands into horticultural fields.

Lack of adequate storage and transportation facilities are major challenges faced in the horticulture sector in India. Post harvest wastage accounts for around 30-40% of horticultural produce in India. The Government has been sprucing up the post harvest operations with a view to curtail losses due to lack of cold storage and warehouse facilities. The Government has set up the National Centre for Cold Chain Development with an investment of INR 250 million to address the country’s cold chain infrastructure needs. The Government is also encouraging private participation to address the post-harvest infrastructure gap. Export of horticultural products is receiving thrust in recent years with the objective to increase the country’s share in global trade in horticulture.

The Government of India is taking several initiatives under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) to streamline horticulture sector in the country during the Twelfth Five Year Plan. MIDH includes National Horticulture Mission and other ongoing schemes in the horticulture sector. The total approved outlay for the National Horticulture Mission for the 2013-14 is around INR 18.5 billion.

1. Apart from Research and Development in areas such as improvement of high-yielding variety of seeds and soil testing other areas such as promotion of mechanisation in horticulture and development and transfer of technology for the promotion of horticulture are being strengthened.

2. Easy access to financial instruments like micro credits, loans and co-operative farming as well as awareness campaigns among farmers on packaging and proper marketing are being organised.

3. Market Information System and horticulture database for the benefit of the stakeholders of the horticulture sector are also planned.

4. In order to promote agricultural exports and to provide better returns to farmers, the Government has sanctioned 60 Agri Export Zones across the country and is planning to set up spice parks across the country to facilitate processing, storage and export of spices; a spice park was recently inaugurated in Mattupetty village in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu

5. The Government has opened up certain segments of agriculture including horticulture to allow 100% FDI

Post-harvest management, cold chain infrastructure and farm mechanisation are thrust areas and the government is promoting private participation to bring in latest practises.