Horticulture in India


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    Recently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has provided an enhanced allocation of Rs. 2250 crore for 2021-22 for the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH).

    Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture

    • It is a centrally sponsored scheme.
      • The Centre contributes 60 per cent of the total outlay for developmental programmes in all the states (except North Eastern and Himalayan states where it contributes 90 per cent) and 40 per cent is contributed by State governments.
    • The Ministry is implementing it with effect from 2014-15.
    • Aim: To realise the potential of the horticulture sector covering fruits, vegetables, root and tuber crops, mushrooms, spices, flowers, aromatic plants, coconut, cashew and cocoa.
    • Enhanced Allocation
      • It has been sanctioned to further promote and for holistic growth of the sector.
      • It is significantly higher than the previous year allocation and has been communicated to the States/UTs for preparing Annual Action Plans.
    • It has five major components, namely
      • National Horticulture Mission (NHM)
        • It was launched under the 10th five-year plan in the year 2005-06.
        • It aimed to develop Horticulture to the maximum potential available.
      • Horticulture Mission for North East and Himalayan States (HMNEH)
        • It covers all NE states including Sikkim and also Himalayan states Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and UTs of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
      • National Horticulture Board (NHB)
        • It was set up in 1984 on recommendations of the “Group on Perishable Agricultural Commodities“, headed by Dr M. S. Swaminathan.
        • Headquartered at Gurugram.
      • Coconut Development Board (CDB)
        • It is a statutory body for the integrated development of coconut cultivation and industry.
        • It came into existence in January 1981 and is headquartered at Kochi in Kerala.
      • Central Institute of Horticulture (CIH)
        • It was set up at Medziphema, Nagaland in the year 2006 by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare.
        • It provides technical support on different aspects of horticulture for holistic development in the NE region.
    • Significance
      • It has played a significant role in increasing the area under horticulture crops.
        • Area and production from 2014-15 to 2019-20 has increased by 9 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.
      • It has boosted best practices to be followed in farms which have significantly improved the quality of produce and productivity of farmland. 
      • It has resulted in India’s self-sufficiency in the sector but also contributed towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals of No Poverty (Goal 1), Zero Hunger (Goal 2), Good Health and Wellbeing (Goal 3), Gender Equality (Goal 5), etc

    About Horticulture

    • The term horticulture is derived from two Latin words hortus, meaning ‘garden’, and cultura meaning ‘cultivation’ hence meaning, crops cultivated in a garden cultivation.
    • It is a science and art of production, utilisation and improvement of fruits, vegetables, flowers and other plants for human food, non-food uses and social needs.
    • It is perhaps the most important branch of agriculture and is further divided into four different branches namely Pomology, Olericulture, Floriculture and Post-harvest Technology.

    S. No.





    • Derived from Latin words poma (fruit) and logus (study, knowledge or discourse).
    • Deals with the scientific study of fruit crops.



    • Derived from Latin words olerus (vegetables) and cultura (cultivation).
    • Deals with the scientific study of vegetable crops, which are different from fruit crops. 



    • Derived from Latin words florus (flower) and cultura.
    • Deals with the scientific study of flowering and ornamental crops.
    • Landscaping is the art of beautifying a piece of land using garden designs, methods and plant material.


    Post-harvest Technology

    • Deals with the principles and practices of handling, packaging and processing of harvested crops to increase their storage life and availability.

    Differences Between Vegetable and Fruit Crops

    S. No.




    Most fruit plants are perennials.

    Most vegetables are annuals.


    Fruit plants are generally woody in nature.

    Vegetable plants are, generally, herbaceous and succulents.


    They have commercially propagated asexually.

    They are commercially propagated sexually (by seed).


    Fruit plants require special cultural practices, i.e., training, pruning, etc.

    Vegetables are seasonal and only staking and pruning are required in some crops.


    Fruits are mostly consumed fresh after ripening.

    Most vegetables require cooking for consumption. 


    • These require intense care in planting, carrying out intercultural operations, manipulation of growth, harvesting, packaging, marketing, storage and processing.
    • These crops are a source of variability in farm produce and diets.
    • They contain health benefiting compounds and medicines.
    • These crops have aesthetic value and protect the environment.
    • Fruit and plantation crops can be cultivated in places where the slope of the land is uneven or undulating and are useful for cultivation in the wasteland or poor quality soil.


    • Diverse agro-climatic conditions in India ensure the production of all types of fresh fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants.
    • Horticulture crops perform a vital role in the Indian economy by generating employment, providing raw material to various food processing industries, and higher farm profitability due to higher production and export earnings from foreign exchange.
    • The comparative production per unit area of horticultural crops is higher than field crops.
    • Such crops are of high value, labour intensive and generate employment throughout the year. It has gained prominence over contributing a growing share in Gross Value Addition of agriculture.
    • They have national and international demand and are a good source of foreign exchange.
    • It is imperative to cater to the country’s estimated demand of 650 MT of fruits and vegetables by the year 2050.

    Data Analysis

    • India is the second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world after China.
    • Horticultural crops constitute a significant portion of the total agricultural produce in India. They cover a wide cultivation area and contribute about 28 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
    • These crops account for 37 per cent of the total exports of agricultural commodities from India.
    • During the year 2019-20, the country recorded its highest ever horticulture production of 320.77 million tonnes from an area of 25.66 million hectares.
    • As per the 1st Advance Estimates for 2020-21 the total horticulture production in the country is 326.58 lakh MT from an area of 27.17 lakh ha.

    (Image Courtesy: FE)



    • Faces high post-harvest loss and gaps in post-harvest management due to less or limited input by machinery and equipment.
    • Lack of supply chain infrastructures like cold storage and well-connected transport networks.
    • Difficulties in setting up due to higher input costs and limited availability of market intelligence, mainly for exports.
    • There are no safety net provisions like the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for foodgrains.
    • The production of horticultural commodities is far less as compared to the existing demand in the country.


    • Scope for enhancing the productivity of Indian horticulture through technology-led development.
    • Reduction of post-harvest losses.
    • Value addition and modified packaging for long storability and transportation.
    • Insect pollinators for i
    • Improve productivity and quality of the crops by using insect pollinators, regulating nutrient dynamics and interactions and using fertilisers.
    • Development of varieties for cultivation in non-traditional areas and varieties tolerant/resistant to various biotic and abiotic stresses.
    • Bioenergy and solid waste utilisation to make it more efficient and eco-friendly.
    • Emphasis on resource allocation, infrastructure development, more research and development (R&D), technological up-gradation and better policy framework.

    Steps Taken by the Government

    • Increased focus on planting material production and cluster development programmes.
    • Development of improved techniques for the production of disease-free quality planting materials.
    • Technology up-gradation for water and nutrient efficiency through micro-irrigation and fertigation
    • Farm mechanisation to increase harvesting and processing efficiency and to reduce crop loss has been implemented by developing horticulturalists.
    • Development of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for various medicinal plants.
    • Development of low cost environment-friendly cool chambers for on-farm storage.
    • Regional and Crop-specific Training and Demonstration Programmes.
    • Credit push through Agri Infra Fund, formation and promotion of the Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) are the right steps in this direction.

    Source: PIB