Triggering agricultural development through horticultural crops

The horticulture sector encompasses a wide range of crops e.g., fruit crops, vegetable crops, potato and tuber crops, ornamental crops, medicinal and aromatic crops, spices and plantation crops. India, with its wide variability of climate and soil, is highly favourable for growing a large number of horticultural crops. It is the fastest growing sector within agriculture. It contributes in poverty alleviation, nutritional security and have ample scope for farmers to increase their income and helpful in sustaining large number of agro-based industries which generate huge employment opportunities. Presently horticulture contributes 28 per cent of agricultural GDP. Country has emerged as the world's largest producer of coconut and tea and the second largest producer and exporter of tea, coffee, cashew and spices. Only 2 per cent of horticulture produce is processed, 0.4 per cent is exported and 22 per cent is lost or get wasted in market chain. Exports of fresh and processed fruits, vegetables, cut flowers, dried flowers have also been picking up. India plans to increase the production to 300 million tonnes by 2012 (GOI, 2002) from current level of 202.68 million tonnes (NHB, 2008).