Agriculture undoubtedly remains one of the largest livelihoods in India. About 42 percent of India’s total workforce is employed in agriculture and allied activities. Of this, horticulture accounts for a third of the total agricultural gross value added. Despite horticulture occupying only a fraction of the area under agriculture (about 20% of the total area under foodgrain in 2018-19), its productivity was 12.3 tonnes per hectare versus 2.3 tonnes per hectare given by agriculture. These numbers are clear indicators that horticulture, even while taking up only a fraction of the cropped area in the country, is already able to generate a much higher value output.
As a positive sign, the area dedicated to horticulture is gradually rising over the years, leading to a significantly higher rise in the output generated by it. India currently stands as the second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, next to China. It is, therefore, no surprise that a large amount of fruit consumed by the world, such as grapes, mangoes, pomegranates, oranges, and so on, take their roots in India. A lot of vegetables consumed by the world, including tomatoes, onions, green chilly, potatoes, and many others, also come from the country’s soil.
In addition, government policies and schemes such as the Mission for Integrated Development Horticulture (MIDH) offer a great stimulus to ensure the holistic development of the horticulture sector in the country. The awareness raised by schemes such as the MIDH is ensuring a steady rise in the land area under horticulture. The average horticulture farmer household income grew from 0.73 lakh per annum to 1.30 lakh per annum (an average of 78% rise).
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