India with diverse soil and climate comprising several agro-ecological regions provides ample opportunity to grow a variety of horticulture crops. These crops form a significant part of total agricultural produce in the country comprising of fruits, vegetables, root and tuber crops, flowers, ornamental plants, medicinal and aromatic plants, spices, condiments, plantation crops and mushrooms.
It is estimated that all the horticulture crops put together cover nearly 11-6 million hectares area with an annual production of 91 million tonnes. Though these crops occupy hardly 7% of the cropped area they contribute over 18% to the gross agricultural output in the country.
India with more than 28.2 million tonnes of fruits and 66 million tonnes of vegetables is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world next only to Brazil and China. However, per capita consumption of fruits and vegetables in India is only around 46kg and 130g against a minimum of about 92g and 300g respectively recommended by Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad. With the present level of population, the annual requirement of fruits and vegetables will be of the order of 32.58million tonnes and 83million tonnes respectively. To meet this requirement the National Commission on Agriculture has projected an area of 4m.ha. and 8m.ha. under fruits and vegetable crops respectively by 2000A.D.
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