The country’s horticultural production that surpassed its grains output for the first time in 2012-13 improved the lead to 10% last year, according to the data released by the Union agricultural ministry on Thursday, reports Sandip Das in New Delhi. The production of horticulture crops that include mainly vegetables and fruits stood at an all-time high 283.47 million tonne (MT) in 2014-15, compared with the grain volume of 257.07 MT.
The area under horticulture farming increased from 12.8 million hectare in 1991-92 to 23.41 million hectare during 2014-15, aided by the multi-pronged National Horticulture Mission launched in the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2007-2012). Production of these crops rose 194% between 1991-92 to 2014-15. India is now second only to China in the production of fruits and vegetables.
“We have achieved record horticultural production despite deficient rainfall last year which was followed by unseasonal rains earlier this year,” agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh said. He said that the horticultural output data will help policy planners, farmers and other stake holders.
Horticulture production has surpassed food grain output in the last three years mainly because of thrust given to horticultural crops in the 11th Plan (2007-2012), said an agriculture ministry official.
Implementation of the mission programmes paved the way for adoption of cluster-based approach for the development of horticulture crops, linked with creation of infrastructure for post-harvest management and marketing. According to agriculture ministry data, between 2005-06 and 2013-14, allocations to the tune of R14,487 crore were provided under NHM.
Besides, under the mission mode, a cold chain capacity of about 32 MT was created as horticulture crops are highly perishable. Around 11 lakh farmers have been trained so far on improved horticulture practices. The value of horticulture output grew to R2.1 lakh crore in 2012-13 from R1.6 lakh crore in 2008-09.