India’s horticulture crops output rose to a record 300 million tonne (MT) in 2016-17 crop year, thus surpassing the country’s foodgrain output for the fifth straight year. According to agriculture ministry data released on Thursday, the production of horticultural crops mainly including, fruits, vegetables, spices and flowers rose by close to 5% compared to last year’s (2015-16) estimate of 286 MT. The foodgrain production for 2016-17 crop year (July-June) was estimated at a record 275 MT. The country’s horticultural production surpassed its grains output for the first time in 2012-13 (see table). The agriculture ministry recently stated that record foodgrain output is because of substantial rise in production of rice, wheat, coarse cereals and pulses supported by ‘normal’ monsoon rains last year.
According to the third advance estimates, the fruit output is estimated to be at a record 93.7 MT in 2016-17, which rose by close to 4% from the previous year. The vegetable production increased by 4% to a record 176 MT in 2016-17. Among vegetables, onion output rose by nearly 4% to 21.7 MT compared to last year. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat are major onion producing states . In case of potato, there was a record output at 48.2 MT in 2016-17 from 43.4 MT estimated in the previous year. Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab are major producing states. Tomato output also grew by 4% to 19.5 MT.
“Production of flowers is estimated to be around 2.3 MT which is 4.3% higher than the previous year. Production of aromatics and medicinal plants is estimated to be around 1.04 MT which is 2% higher than the previous year,” according to an official statement. During 2016-17, the area under horticulture crops increased by 2.6% to 25.1 million hectare (MH) in 2016-17 from 24.5 MH in the previous year. The area under horticulture farming increased from only 12.8 MH in 1991-92 to 23.41 MH during 2014-15, aided by the 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.
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. Globally, India is now second only to China in the production of fruits and vegetables.Fruits and vegetables account for nearly 90% of the total horticulture production in the country.