India will likely have produced record horticulture crops including spices this year backed by a good monsoon spread and use of technology which helped boost their productivity, even as onion output could drop, according to official estimate. Total horticulture production of the country is estimated to be 305.4 million tonnes during 2017-18 (July-June), up 1.6% from the previous year, the government said in a statement. The output of fruits is estimated to be 94.9 million tonnes, up 2% from last year vegetables production is seen at 180.7 million tonnes, up 1%. “I must give the credit to farmers who have moved to high value crops due to better returns. The society has also become more concerned about nutrition that has increased the demand,” agricutlure secretary S K Pattanayak told Finacial Express. He said availability of better quality planting material and rapid spread of protected cultivation also helped improve productivity of horticulture crops. Productivity for horticulture sector as a whole, has increased by 1.3 per cent in 2017-18 as compared to last year. The total production of horticulture crops also is 8 per cent higher than the average of past five years’ output.
However, the country’s onion production is estimated to have declined 4.5 per cent to 21.4 million tonnes in the current year due to lower acreage, as per the first advance estimate of fruits, vegetables, spices, flowers and plantation crops like cocoa released by the agriculture ministry on Tuesday. The onion output was 22.4 million tonnes in 2016-17 crop year. As per the ministry’s first advance estimate, area sown to onion remained lower at 1.19 million hectare in the current year as against 1.30 million hectare in the last year. The government in November had imposed the minimum export price (MEP) of $850 a tonne after prices soared to about Rs 80 a kg to ensure sufficient domestic supplies. It also allowed MMTC to import 2,000 tonnes of onion.
Among other key vegetables, potato production is estimated at 49.3 million tonnes in 2017-18 compared with 48.6 million tonnes in 2016-17. Similarly, tomato production in the current year is likely to be around 22.3 million tonnes as against 20.7 million tonnes in 2016-17.
Among fruits, mango output is pegged higher at 20.7 million tonnes in the current year on higher yields as against 19.5 million tonnes in the last year. Banana output may drop to 30.2 million tonnes in 2017-18 from 30.47 million tonnes previous year. In case of horticulture plantation crops like coconut and cashew nut, total production is likely to remain flat at 18 million tonnes for 2017-18 crop year as against 17.97 million tonnes. Spices output has been pegged at 8.16 million tonnes this year as against 8.12 million tonnes last year.