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,
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