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Horticulture Sector in India: The Sky is the Limit

Horticulture is the science, art, as well as business of cultivating vegetables, fruits, flowers, ornamental plants, and herbs. In other words, it is known as the exercise of garden cultivation and management. The term Horticulture is derived from two Latin words- hortus (garden) and cultura (cultivation). In the last few decades, the Horticulture sector in India has evolved as one of the most leading and influential sectors not only in India but in various other countries across the globe.

 

 What’s in the News?

  • On 26th of January, 2021, the governor of Nagaland said that the Department of Horticulture had outlined an economic development layout for the Horticulture industry, wherein the significant highlights are the evolution of 100 vegetable villages for 10, 0000 households, nourishing the post-harvest & value addition infrastructures for vegetables and fruits & promotion of mushroom cultivation, etc. 
  • On 19th of January, 2021 Chief Minister of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani has announced Mukhyamantri Bagayat Vikas Mission to encourage farming of herbal plants and give a boost to agriculture and Horticulture sector in India. 
  • The J&K government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd.) to promote Jammu and Kashmir’s horticulture produce and to ensure sustainable development of this sector. 
  • High-density plantation of Walnut, Apple, Cherry, Flowers, etc. will increase the farmers’ income by 3 to 4 times. It’s a well-known fact that the Horticulture sector is deemed as the backbone of J&K economy. 

Other Significant Information  

  • As per the official records, around 7, 00,000 families involved in the farming domain are somehow connected with the Horticulture sector in India. 
  • One Almond/stone fruit nursery is going through the establishment process in southern Shopian district, which will be into the production of about two lakh fruit plants yearly.
  • Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bengaluru is all set to organize a National Horticulture fair for five days starting from 8th of February till 12th of February, 2021 with a mission to turn horticulture into a business enterprise. 
  • Considering the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic, farmers, along with stakeholders from different parts of the nation, can attend the Horticulture fair. 
  • As per the official information, around 25 lakh farmers will be joining the fair, and 30,000 farmers will be from Karnataka as well as other neighbouring states. 
  • Horticulture production in India has more than doubled roughly from 146 million tonnes in 2001-02 to touch the figure of 314 million tonnes in 2018-19. On the other hand, the production of food grain extended from 213 million tonnes to 285 million tonnes throughout the same period.

Horticulture Sector in India: Key Features

The Horticulture sector in India facilitates a major chunk of the population to consume a different and balanced diet to enjoy a healthy living and assist in maintaining the Ecological Balance.

The key features of Horticulture Sector are-

  • Horticulture sector has become a significant factor in the economic progress and accomplishments in most Indian states where the Division of Horticulture of Indian Council of Agricultural Research[1] (ICAR) is proactively performing its tasks. 
  • The horticulture sector in India renders more opportunities in the sphere of employment across primary, secondary as well as tertiary sectors of Agriculture.
  • This sector has proved its mettle and has emerged as one of the rapidly expanding markets of advancement as it turned out to be more beneficial and productive than the agricultural sector (food grains).
  • Horticulture crops and fruits are more arduous to transform in ungracious and unfavourable weather conditions, and the vegetables exponentially boost the income of small & marginal farmers.
  • The demand for water usage is at a low level, drastically lessens the crop failure risk or risks, and can occur in smaller farms.
  • Heaps of crops are planted concurrently to get more yields and make the most out of the organic fertilizers, and the crop field stays to be full of nutrients.

Classification in Brief

The four main segments of Horticulture are-

Classification of Horticulture Sector

OlericultureOlericulture is a branch of Horticulture and science of vegetable growing that is concerned with the production, storage, processing, along with the marketing of vegetables. This term is derived from the Latin word Oleris which defines pot herb and the English word culture which defines cultivation. Therefore, we can say that Olericulture is all about the cultivation of pot herbs.

Pomology- Pomology refers to the branch of Horticulture and science of food growing that deals with planting, harvesting, storing, processing, as well as the marketing of fruit & nut crops. The term Pomology is composed of two Latin words pome, which means fruits and logos which defines study. It is concerned with several aspects of fruits initiating from rising of saplings, ensuring their proper growth and rendering numerous intercultural operations.

Ornamental Horticulture- This Segment of Horticulture Comprise two sub-parts-

Types of Ornamental Horticulture
  • Landscape Horticulture- Landscape Horticulture is all about Production, marketing, along with maintenance of landscape plants that are beneficial in garnishing the outdoor/external environment. The world will be a more colourful paradise with Landscape Horticulture.
  • Floriculture- Floriculture is the significant discipline of Horticulture that revolves around production, use, along with marketing of floral crops. It is art and knowledge of steering the flowers towards the height of perfection. In the last few years, it has groomed as the profitable Agri-business within the geographical boundaries of India.  In addition to this, it is known by the name ‘flower farming’.

Arboriculture- Arboriculture refers to cultivation, management, as well as the study of shrubs useful for ornamental purposes, individual trees, vines, along with persistent woody plants. The term Arboriculture is composed of two terms- arbor (Latin word which means tree) and culture.

Challenges that Obstruct the Growth of the Horticulture Sector in India

The major challenges in the path of the emerging Horticulture sector in India are mentioned below-

  • The government has fixed no Minimum Support Price for Horticulture products entailing fruits such as mangoes, bananas, cucumber, pomegranate, and custard apples, and other Horticulture crops. These fruits come under the category of perishable items. Even though Horticulture farmers have raised their voices so many times, the problem still persists.
  • As the input costs are higher in Horticulture sector in India in comparison with agricultural products such as food grains, immersing into Horticulture segment is a challenging task, especially without the local governments’ assistance to small and marginal farmers.
  • Coping with the high price fluctuations is the tough row to hoe for the marginal farmers. Their problems are never-ending ones, and thus, small and marginal farmers are waiting for the ray of hope in their life.
  • As there is a lack of sound transport network and scarcity of good cold chain storage, extending the life of perishable products has become a challenge.
  • Horticultural export is one of the vital challenges that hinder the progress of the Horticulture sector in India. Limited availability of market intelligence primarily for exports makes it the hardest decision to make.
  • As most of the machinery and equipment are obsolete and are thus providing very less value and inputs, binding the time restraints becomes a challenge in itself. 

Recommendations that would Ensure Smooth Running of Horticulture Industry

  • Attaining science and technology-led advancement along with drafting strategies concerning the utilization of resources in the field of Horticulture would bring some amazing transformation in the Horticulture sector in India.
  • Improvement in quality seeds & plants and bringing newly introduced cultivators that ensures quick and efficient cultivation process will eventually accelerate productivity.
  • Imparting the meaningful education related to Horticulture to upscale youth knowledge regarding various government schemes and modern equipment and machinery must be considered by one and all.
  • As post-harvest management is known for increasing the shelf life of fruits, people engrossed in the Horticulture sector in India must understand the value of post-harvest management. In addition to this, they should adopt post-harvest management exercises to enhance the value of fruits in the long run.
  • Value addition in Horticulture crops has become the need of the time. Value addition is the process that meets the requirements of nutritional security. It boosts the economic value of Horticulture crops. Value-added products are gaining attention as such products integrate diversification factor in the daily diet and unlock new markets as well.
  • Along with proper planning in the domain of Horticulture, organizing Research & Development Programmes at National level is something that must be considered. Holistic growth of Horticulture sector in India is possible only if the implementation of plans and proper formulation as well as execution of strategies would take place.
  • Many horticultural crops such as Ber, Pomegranate, highly nutritious Aonla, Phalsa, Jamun or Black Plum, Citrus, Fig, Bael, Khejri, Field Beans, Cucurbits, and more need insect pollinators for effective and value-rich pollination) in order to reap better outcomes. The pollinators, as well as pollinizers, enliven quantitative along with qualitative traits of Horticultural crop produce.

Other Recommendations in Favour of the Horticulture Sector in India

  • Establishing a better long-distance transportation network should be a task of utmost importance to ensure smooth and hindrance-free transportation of fresh Horticultural produce. Putting Horticultural crops into storage would serve layers of protection to such crops.
  • Adopting relevant management practices to eradicate nutrient imbalance and keeping nutrient dynamics under observation.
  • Expansion of varieties to meet cultivation requirements in non-traditional spheres is a must.
  • Preserved cultivation, hydroponic & aeroponic should get enfolded for polishing up productivity along with the quality of produce.

National Horticulture Board (NHB)

Based on the recommendations of the “Group on Perishable Agricultural Commodities”, Indian government has brought National Horticulture Board into existence in April 1984. It was headed by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan. The headquarter of NHB is nestled in the lap of Gurgaon.

 The objectives of National Horticulture Board are mentioned below-

  • Development and all-round headway of integrated, energy effective cold chain infrastructure for garden-fresh Horticulture produces
  • Stimulation of Farm Mechanization in the field of Horticulture via demonstration along with its uses at farmers’ field level in order to lessen the labour cost and accelerate the productivity of Horticulture crops
  • To assist the development and consistent progress of hi-tech commercial Horticulture in most of the recognized belts and makes such areas vibrant with activities related to Horticulture, which would eventually perform the tasks of hubs for Horticultural development
  • Promotion, as well as market blooming of fresh Horticulture, produces
  • Promotion of applied Research and Development for standardizing post-harvest management protocols, defining critical conditions concerning storage for fresh Horticulture produce, benchmarking of those standards that are considered as technical for cold chain infrastructure 
  • Transfer of technology to farmers or producers along with service providers such as farm-level skilled workers, gardeners, operators in cold storages, nurserymen, and workforce proceeding ahead with post-harvest management entailing processing of fresh Horticulture produce and to the expert trainers
  • Fostering consumption of Horticulture produce on top of products

Remote Sensing & Horticultural Development

  • India has witnessed the modernization of Horticultural revolution over the last few decades due to the integration of the Global Positioning System, Remote Sensing Technology, along with Geographic Information System.
  • Remote sensing technology like orchard rejuvenation, crop identification, aqua horticulture soil health mapping, crop intensification, land resource mapping and crop yield estimation would assist the farmers in growing their Horticulture crops along with riding on the chariot of profitability.
  • Satellite data grant precise information related to irrigated crop areas by keeping track of the phonological development of crops via multi-temporal image.
  • Weather condition is considered as one of the substantial aspects that speed up or delay the phonological phases of Horticultural crops.
  • Therefore, surveillance of Horticultural crop from time to time & image processing techniques of advance level can be exercised to infer the spectral reflectance values of phonological modifications in the way of development.
  • Sensors are devised in such a manner that they recognize the crops based on the spectral signature of the numerous wavelengths of electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Multi-spectral satellite data with noticeable and Near-infrared bands renders fine shreds of evidence for differentiating fruit plants on the basis of the spectral attributes, available in the visible as well as Near-infrared bands.

Role of Hindrise Foundation

At Hindrise Foundation, we are increasing awareness about the government schemes concerning the Horticulture sector in India. Besides this, we are endeavoring from our end to support Horticultural development within the geographical boundaries of India. Till now, we have served thousands of families in Horticulture and agriculture-based livelihood programs.

Our aim is to flourish the lives of Horticultural farmers struggling with extreme poverty and unable to settle down health-related issues due to lack of healthcare facilities available. Supporting poor farmers with saplings is a part of our initiative.

The Way Forward

  • The core areas of Horticulture sector in India must revolve around research and development, matching pace with the latest technologies and innovations, and assisting institutional changes.
  • Diversification in the field of Horticulture has become a significant source of efficacious growth not only for the Horticulture sector but also for the entire nation.
  • The sector has sound forward & backward linkages and developing the horticulture as an organized industry will galvanize growth in the agriculture sector.
  • By looking at the current trend, it’s not wrong to say that India is all set to become a major producer as well as exporter of Horticultural products.
  • Advancement of Horticultural domain would ensure three much-needed significant transformations in the nation- promotion of exports, poverty diminishment, and employment generation.

The Final Words

Horticulture entails garden cultivation and management. The horticulture sector in India shows immense potential due to the diversification factor and because it is highly remunerative compared to the agricultural sector.  In recent time, the Indian government is bringing up several schemes and making strategies to uplift the sector. Moreover, at Hindrise Foundation, we are moving mountains to support the Horticulture farmers through different livelihood programs and activities. In the end, we can assert that the better days are in the store for the Horticulture sector in India.