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1. Horticulture : The Growth Engine Of Agriculture Sector

1.1. Horticulture:

  • Horticulture mainly constitutes of fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, medicinal and aromatic plants, mushrooms and many allied activities like bee-keeping sericulture etc.

  • In India, the major share in total fruit production is of mainly banana (33.4 per cent), mango (20.7 per cent), citrus (12.5 per cent), papaya (6.3 per cent), guava (4.1 per cent), grape (2.9 per cent) and apple (2.8 per cent).

  • The major fruit producing states are Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Gujarat. These eight states account for 70 per cent of the area under fruit cultivation.


Vegetable Production:

  • Vegetables constitute about 60 per cent of horticulture production. Potato, tomato, onion, brinjal, cabbage and cauliflower account for maximum share in vegetable production in the country Total vegetable production was highest in case of West Bengal (23,045 thousand tonnes) followed by Uttar Pradesh (18,545 thousand tonnes), Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Odisha. Though, India is the second largest producer of the vegetables,


1.2. Floriculture:

  • floriculture is an advantage in due to its ‘low volume, high value’ character leading flower producing states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, towards floriculture. States like Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim have huge untapped potential in this field


Mushroom Cultivation:

  • Mushroom cultivation has become a profitable business Important species of mushrooms in

  • cultivation are button, shiitake, oyster, wood ear and paddy straw mushrooms and all of these contribute 99 per cent of the total world production. Mushrooms can make a valuable dietary addition through protein, various micronutrients and their medicinal properties

  • The fifth consecutive year horticultural production outstrips the food grains production is an evidence of structural changes in the agricultural sector.

  • The overall share of the horticulture in the agriculture sector's gross domestic product has grown to over 30 percent even though it accounts for nearly 17 percent of the farmland.

  • As per the consumption data from the national sample survey organisation (NSSO) consumption of vegetables per person increased from 2.7 kg in 1993-94 to 4.3 kg in 2011-12 and this growth is because of the increased production in spite of the surge in the population.

  • The impact of irrigation better agronomic practices and improved varieties has been reflected very well in the robust growth of horticultural output which is estimated around a 7 percent a year in the past decade.

  • The acreage under horticulture has also grown by around 2 percent a year and dipped only marginally in bad monsoon years and the drought years.


1.3. Policy Initiatives:

  • Central Government has taken major initiatives in 10th and 11th Five Year Plans for accelerating the growth of horticulture in the country.

  • the Central Government to launch Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) during XII Plan for holistic growth of the horticulture sector covering fruits, vegetables, root and tuber crops, mushrooms, spices, flowers, aromatic plants, coconut, cashew, cocoa and bamboo.

  • The Mission subsumes the earlier missions like National Horticulture Mission (NHM), Horticulture Mission for North East & Himalayan States (HMNEH), National Bamboo Mission (NBM), National Horticulture Board (NHB), Coconut Development Board (CDB) and Central Institute for Horticulture (CIH), Nagaland. All States and UTs are covered under MIDH


Challenges –

  • Productivity Enhancement: The lack of good planting material like seeds and technologies hinders the production of this sector. For example in India the average mango production is 3-4 tonnes per acre as against 8-10 tonnes per acre in developed countries.

  • Value-Addition and Reduction in Post-harvest Losses: As most of the horticultural products are perishable the lack of suitable post harvest technologies and value addition facilities at the grass root level de-incentivize the farming community to take horticulture as primary profession.

  • Lack of regulated markets and multiplicity of intermediaries in marketing makes the price higher in the consumer end lower in the production end.

  • High-tech Protected Cultivation: Protected cultivation is high-tech cultivation which result in 5 to 12 times higher output than cultivation in the open field. Improper knowledge about the climate and irrigation facilities makes the production to fluctuate.


Integrated Disease and Pest Management Strategies:

  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to manage the target pests effectively with reduced synthetic pesticides and development of new non-chemical, eco-friendly approaches such as botanicals, biocontrol agents and semio-chemicals.


Efficient Use of Natural Bio-resources in Production:

  • Nutritional requirements of the crops should be met with the promotion of organic manures. Cattle rearing and dairy should be the part of the horticulture production system

  • Strategies to Mitigate Climate Change: Climate change is an important environmental issue of great concern


Way Forward

  • Provision of quality planting material to the growers will help in raising the yields. More produce will come with more income for farmers and farmers will be motivated to grow more of these crops ultimately reducing the pressure from the cereal crops.

  • Expansion of fruits and vegetables processing industry with backward linkages with farmers can help in value addition and waste reduction.

  • The financial interventions of the government like price stabilisation fund will eliminate the unexpected shocks in the market.

  • The national agricultural market which provides the farmers better prices for the crops must be strengthened and the perishables must be de-notified to get high and remunerative prices.

  • Drought prone and climate resilient plants must be developed and supplied to the farmers so that it will help to overcome the climate change and give good yields.

  • The private sectors must be encouraged to set up more cold chain storages and post-harvest facilities on modern scientific lines to eliminate distress sales.

  • Rejuvenation of old orchards is going on and it should be continued on the larger scale.

  • Insurance against weather risks like hail storms and other natural calamities which result in fruit drop must be compensated with suitable subsidy and MSP should be extended to the horticultural crops


2. Mushroom Scope And Future In India

2.1. Economy

  • Cultivation of these crops is labour intensive and as such, they generate lot of employment opportunities for the rural population.

  • Cultivation of horticultural crops plays a vital role in the prosperity of a nation and is directly linked with the health and happiness of the people

  • Fruits and vegetables are not only used for domestic consumption and processing into various products (Pickles, preserves sauces, jam, jelly squashes, etc.), but also substantial quantities are exported in fresh and processed form, bringing much-needed foreign exchange for the country

  • These groups of crops also pro-vide ample scope for achieving bio-diversity and diversification to maintain ecological balance and to create sustainable agriculture


2.2. Utilising wastelands

  • The need for great utilization of available wastelands against the background of dwindling water and energy resources has focused attention to dry land, to arid and semi-arid tracts and to horticultural crops, which have lesser demands on water and other inputs besides being 3 to 4 times more remunerative than field crops.

  • A surplus labour and widely varied agro-climatic condition, which offers a high potential for successful and profitable commercial horticulture

  • Horticulture 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.

  • Economic Survey 2015-16: Horticulture Scenario The percentage share of horticulture output in agriculture is more than 33%. Under the purview of agriculture and allied activities, the share of plan outlay for horticulture, which was 3.9% during Ninth Plan, has increased to 4.6% during the Twelfth.


3. Floriculture : Potential source of farmers income

  • Floriculture or flower farming is the branch of horticulture that deals with the cultivation of flowering and ornamental plants for sales and for use as raw materials in cosmetic, perfume industry and in the pharmaceutical sector.

  • Ancient literature such as Harsha charita, Ramayana describes that India has a long history of use of flowering plants from eras on large scale in religious purposes, social ceremonies, for making surrounding peaceful and a place ideal for meditation.

  • Though, India dominates in terms of area under cultivation compares with some leading countries which are relatively prosperous in floriculture like the Netherlands, Colombia, yet India's per hectare yield is very low.

  • Nearly 77% of the area under floricultural crops is concentrated in seven states comprising Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Haryana, UP and Delhi. Among these Tamilnadu ranks first in flower cultivation followed by Karnataka


3.1. Present Scenario

  • India is enriched with diverse agro climatic conditions such as fertile lands, suitable climate, abundant water supply, low labour cost, availability of skilled man power, and the recent investment climate by corporates etc., are the strengths of Indian floriculture Industry.

  • As per the National horticultural database published by the National horticulture board, during the last two decades the production of both the loose and cut flowers has been growing at a Compound Annual Growing Rate (CAGR) of 9.92 percent and 26.66 percent respectively.



  • The Indian floriculture industry is facing number of challenges mainly associated to trade environment, infrastructure and marketing issues such as high import tariff, low availability of perishable carriers, higher freight rates and inadequate refrigerated and transport facilities.

  • At the production level the industry faces challenges mostly related to availability of basic inputs including good quality seeds and planting materials, efficient irrigation system and skilled man power.


Enhancing Farmer’s Income through Floriculture

  • It has emerged as an important agribusiness with immense potential for generating employment and entrepreneurship among small and marginal farmers in both urban and rural areas.

  • The increasing demand for cut flowers, protected cultivation in green houses is the best alternative for using land and other resources efficiently because it provides favourable conditions for growth which provides quality products.

  • It has also evolved as a viable and profitable alternative for income generation and empowerment, helping in sustainable livelihood of farmers in changing climate by using every inch of land for raising the flower and foliage crops.

  • Government initiated many schemes for the promotion of the horticulture sector and NABARD provides the credit facilities also to promote the methods of protected cultivation and precision farming.

  • Various training related programmes are introduced by the government for farmers and entrepreneurs and also offer a range of concession on seeds, planting materials, various types of equipment and air freight for export.


Horticulture and Indian Economy

  • The importance of horticulture can be substantiated by its benefits

  • 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

  • stabilization of women’s empowerment by providing employment opportunities through fruit and vegetable processing floriculture industry seed production


3.2. Biotechnology in Horticulture


  • It is an innovative science in which the living systems and organisms are used to develop new and useful products.

  • Biotechnological tools have revolutionised the entire crop improvement programmes by providing new strains of plants, supply of planting material, more efficient and selective pesticides and improved fertilizers.

  • Many genetically modified fruits and vegetables are already in the market in developed countries.

  • The major areas of biotechnology which can be adopted for improvement of horticultural crops are:

  • Tissue Culture

  • Embryo Rescue is another area where plant breeders are able to rescue their crosses which would otherwise abort

  • Genetic Engineering

  • Molecular Diagnostics and Molecular Markers

  • Development of Beneficial Microbes

  • GM Crops

  • Tissue Culture

  • It is economical in time and space, provides greater output, disease free and elite offsprings

  • Another aspect of plant tissue culture is to produce somaclonal variation which means to generate genetic variations that may be needed in breeding program


3.3. Role of Government

  • Under a scheme called Small Business Innovation Research Initiative (SBIRI), the private tissue culture units are entitled for expansion of existing units

  • Department of Agriculture and Cooperation provides financial assistance up to Rs. 21lakhs for setting up tissue culture units (in public sector) and Rs 10 lakhs in private sector, subject to a maximum of 20% of the project cost

  • Under Integrated Development of Fruits Scheme, financial assistance in the form of subsidy, up to 50 per cent is provided for purchase of tissue cultured banana plants by various state Governments

  • Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDIA) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, state-of-the-art airfreight trans- shipment centre has been set up for tissue culture plants (perishables) at New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore airports. Airfreight subsidy up to 25% of the freight cost is provided to tissue culture plants.

  • For setting up tissue culture lab, there is a provision for back-ended capital subsidy not exceeding 20% of the project cost with a maximum of Rs 25 lakh per project

  • Small Farmers Agri-business Consortium (SFAC) provides soft loans up to Rs 50 lakhs for setting up small tissue culture labs by co-operative societies formed by small scale farmers

  • Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are giving financial assistance for setting up tissue culture units under the new agro-industrial policy. Karnataka gives capital subsidy of 20 per cent on investments.


4. Initiatives for Horticulture promotion in India

4.1. Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH)

  • It has been launched for the holistic development of horticulture in the country since 2014 - 15. It subsumed six ongoing schemes of the Department of Agriculture and cooperation on horticulture development. Out of these six schemes three are centrally sponsored schemes

  • National Horticultural Mission

  • Horticulture Mission for North east and Himalayas

  • National Bamboo Mission and the three Central sector schemes are

  • National Horticulture Board

  • Coconut Development Board

  • Central Institute of Horticulture, Nagaland

  • MIDH lays emphasis on enhancing horticulture production, augmenting farmer’s income and strengthening nutritional security. It plans to improve productivity by way of quality germ plasm, planting material and water use efficiency through micro irrigation.


4.2. National Horticulture Mission (NHM)

  •  National Horticulture Mission (NHM) is one of the sub schemes of Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) which is being implemented by State Horticulture Missions (SHM) in selected districts of 18 States and four Union Territories.

  • National Horticulture Mission (NHM) was launched in 2005 - 06 as centrally sponsored scheme to enhance the horticulture production and improver nutritional security and income support to farm households and others. It adopts area based regionally differentiated strategies.

  • North East States, Sikkim, J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are not covered under this mission

  • These states are covered under a separate scheme – Horticulture Mission for North East and Himalayan States.


Horticulture Mission for North East and Himalayan States (HMNEH)

  • It is one of the sub schemes of Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) which is being implemented by State Horticulture Missions (SHM) in the North Eastern States and Himalayan States.

  • These states have rich bio diversity and hold immense potential for horticulture. So in a view to improve livelihood of these people this scheme is launched in 2001 – 02.

  • The NER is known for minimum usage of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This is proposed to be converted into strength through appropriate technology based development and adoption of organic management of horticultural development activities.


National Bamboo Mission (NBM)

  • National Bamboo Mission (NBM) is one of the sub schemes of Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) It is being implemented by State Bamboo Development Agencies (BDA)/ Forest Development Agency (FDA) in all the States and UTs Bamboo is an economic resource having immense potential for improving the quality of life of rural and urban communities with environment regeneration qualities like carbon sequestering. Domestic bamboo industry is estimated to be about Rs. 26,000 crores (in 2015). However, the domestic bamboo sector is faced with many constraints, such as:

  • Lack of scientific methods for propagation and cultivation.

  • Lack of post-harvest treatment and technology for product development.

  • Inadequate trained manpower.

  • Inadequate infrastructure for large scale harvesting in the event of gregarious flowering.

  • National Horticulture Board (NHB)

  • National Horticulture Board (NHB) was set up by Government of India in April 1984 on the basis of recommendations of the “Group on Perishable Agricultural Commodities.

  • The NHB is registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act 1860, with its headquarters at Gurgaon The main objectives of the NHB are to improve integrated development of Horticulture industry and to help in coordinating, sustaining the production and processing of fruits and vegetables


Coconut Development Board (COB)

  • Coconut Development Board (CDB) is a statutory body established in 1981, under the Ministry of Agriculture, for the integrated development of coconut cultivation and industry in the country with focus on increasing productivity and product diversification. Functions of the Board

  • Adopting measures for the development of coconut industry.

  • Imparting technical advice to those engaged in coconut cultivation and industry.

  • Providing financial and other assistance for the expansion of area under coconut.

  • Encouraging adoption of modern technologies for processing of coconut and its products.

  • Adopting measures to get incentive prices for coconut and its products.

  • Recommending measures for improving marketing of coconut and its products.

  • Recommending measures for regulating imports and exports of coconut and its products.

  • Fixing grades, specifications and standards for coconut and its products.

  • Financing suitable schemes to increase the production of coconut and to improve the quality and yield of coconut.

  • Assisting, encouraging, promoting and financing agricultural, technological, industrial or economic research on coconut and its products.

  • Collecting statistics on coconut and its products and publishing them.

  • Undertaking publicity activities and publishing books and periodicals on coconut and its products‘ARYA’ (Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture)

  • To check the migration of rural youth and retain their interest in agriculture through creation of new employment opportunities. This programme is being implemented by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Objctives –

  • To attract and empower the youth in rural areas to take up various Agriculture, allied and service sector enterprises for sustainable income and gainful employment in selected districts.

  • To enable the Farm Youth to establish network groups to take up resource and capital intensive activities like processing, value addition and marketing;

  • To demonstrate the functional linkage with different institutions and stakeholders for convergence of opportunities available under various schemes/programme for sustainable development of Youth.

  • ARYA project is being implemented through Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) in 25 States, one district from each State, with technical partners from ICAR institutes andAgricultural Universities. Skill development of rural youths will help in improving their confidence levels and encourage them to pursue farming as profession, generate additional employment opportunities to absorb under employed and unemployed rural youth in secondary agriculture and service related activities in rural areas.

Kurukshetra April 2017

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