According to the perspective of G C Shivakumar, general manager, East-West Seed India, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Indian market for vegetable seeds is on a growth path. The market's current size is INR 5000 crore (industry estimates). It is expected to nearly double in the next five years with the growth in volumes and value (with an increase in hybridization), estimates ICRA. The CAGR is expected to grow to 10 percent from the current 8 percent in 2021 between the years 2019 to 2024.
India's fruit and vegetable imports value amounted to over 168 billion Indian rupees in 2020. More than 16 percent of the total imports of fruits and vegetables came from China in 2017.
The Ukraine conflict has led to a surge in fuel prices that directly affected the prices of food items, especially perishable ones, due to the rise in logistic costs.
The global Pandemic has fueled rising awareness regarding the benefits of consuming vegetables. Demand for plant-based nutrition is on the rise. In addition, there is a lot of consolidation & vertical integration- shortening the value chain, which contributes to the market's growth.
Given this scenario, are we exploring the potential of vegetable farming enough?
Vegetable cultivation can contribute to the comprehensive development of the Indian agribusiness ecosystem. Market-oriented vegetable farming creates income for smallholder farmers and helps to build their resilience to external risks. The diversity of vegetable crops, short growing cycles, and efficient use of irrigation can reduce farmers' vulnerability to climate change.
What do we need to do for vegetable farming to become the preferred choice?
The Government of India has to implement a comprehensive policy exclusively for the vegetable seed sector that focuses on the long-term. A few measures can make a lot of difference.
- First, raising awareness about healthy diets through increased consumption of fruits and vegetables.
- Second, promoting efforts to boost their production through sustainable value chains.
- Third, emphasize the need to reduce losses and waste. Most importantly, focusing on the role of women in assuring food silver security for their families and communities since it impacts all three objectives.
Our 700 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) need to be aggressively plugged into farmgate supply and value chains to advise on increasing productivity, yield, and market reach of fruits and vegetables.
Strengthening integrated cold chains at farmgate pack houses and mainstreaming fruits and vegetables even during the off-seasoAllman'sn to increase availability must be done. Last but not least, consider perennial fruit crops as a source of promoting a clean environment.
There is a definite need to improve yields through more research and better agronomic practices. Insurance coverage for vegetable farmers is the need of the hour. Technology Transfer from Lab-to-Land needs to be faster and more agile to cater to current and future requirements. Market linkages for vegetable farmers need to be established.
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