The Gist of Kurukshetra : Horticulture and Indian Economy-June-2017


The Gist of Kurukshetra : Horticulture and Indian Economy-June-2017


India is bestowed with diverse soil and agro climatic conditions suitable for growing a wide variety of horticultural crops. These crops form a significant part of total agricultural produce in the country comprising of fruits, vegetables, root and tuber crops, ornamental plants, medicinal and aromatic plants, spices, condiments and plantation crops.

The importance of horticulture can be substantiated by its benefits like high export value, high yield per unit area, high returns per unit area, efficient utilization of wasteland, provision of raw materials for allied industries, better use of undulating lands, and stabilization of women's empowerment by providing employment opportunities through fruit and vegetable processing, floriculture industry, seed production, mushroom cultivation, nursery business, etc.

Horticultural crops playa unique role in India's economy by improving the income of the rural people. Cultivation of these crops is labour intensive and as such, they generate lot of employment opportunities for the rural population. India with more than 28.2 million tonnes of fruits and 66 million tonnes of vegetables, is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, next only to Brazil and China. However, per capita consumption of fruits and vegetables in India is only around 46kg and 130g against a minimum of about 92g and 300g respectively recommended by Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad.

India is earning foreign exchange through export of several horticultural produces viz., flowers to America, Netherlands, Germany, Japan, UK, onions to Malayasia, UAE, Singapore, Srilanka and Bangladesh; vegetables to Sri Lanka, United States, UAE, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, U.K., Kuwait; fresh grapes to UK, Netherlands, UAE, Bangladesh, Germany; fresh fruits to Bangladesh, UAE, Saudi Arabia, UK and Sri Lanka processed vegetables to Egypt, Sri Lanka, UAE, America and Turkey and Mango pulp to Saudi Arabia, UAE, Netherlands, Kuwait and Germany; pickles and chutneys to UK, America, UAE, Spain etc.

It is estimated that India has 240 million acres of cultivable wasteland, which is lying idle, which can be brought under orchard crops without curtailing the area under food crops. The country has abundant sunshine throughout year, a surplus labour and widely varied agro-climatic condition, which offers a high potential for successful and profitable commercial horticulture.

Horticulture is not merely a means of diversification, but forms an integral part of food, nutritional security and poverty alleviation, and also an essential ingredient of economic security. India, like many other countries, is very concerned about food security, thus, rural development has become a primary area of focus in the current agricultural and horticultural development scenario.

 

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