Indian Farming- Diversifying for Growth

If you wish to see how vegetable farmers or fruit growers of the country are changing their course and producing many new vegetables and fruits that were seen only in foreign countries, visit some Safal outlets or some weekly bazaar. Many a times, I get confused if the items are imported because of the opening of the market due to globalization that we all have accepted.

As per National Horticulture Database 2011 published by National Horticulture Board, during 2010-11 India produced 74.878 million metric tonnes of fruits and 146.554 million metric tonnes of vegetables. The area under cultivation of fruits stood at 6.383 million hectares while vegetables were cultivated at 8.495 million hectares. As reported, during 2011-12, India exported fruits and vegetables worth Rs.4801.29 crores which comprised of fruits worth Rs.1779.49 crores and vegetables worth Rs.3021.74 crores. Mangoes, Walnuts, Grapes, Bananas, Pomegranates account for larger portion of fruits exported from the country while Onions, Okra, Bitter Gourd, Green Chilies, Mushrooms and Potatoes contribute largely to the vegetable export basket. Many cargo aero planes are taking the fresh vegetables to different countries every day from different parts of the country.

A large number of progressive Indian farmers are diversifying according to the need of the domestic as well as foreign market. Indian orchards are now growing Kiwis and passion fruits and exporting them. They are negotiating to lower import duty in Europe for a particular variety of bananas – Grand Nain to be competitive. This long, yellow variety is now replacing the traditional ones such as Basrai across the country.

The export list is growing lengthy with all types of crops – broccoli, baby corn, sweet corn, red and yellow capsicums, pomegranate, onions, garlic, potato powder and gherkins. “There are several things which are produced just to meet the export demand.” The Corporate India through contract farming has come to assist the farmers in different ways from providing the inputs to marketing.

According to data in the latest Economic Survey, between 2000-01 and 2011-12, wheat and rice production rose 35% and 22%, respectively. While the spurt in cotton output jumped 3. 7 times, potato production has more than doubled. Similarly, there was a 75% jump in fruits and vegetable production and milk production saw an over 50%
rise. Even laggards such as pulses and oil seeds have seen an increase
of around 60%.

While India is the world’s largest milk producer, it is the second largest fruit grower behind China. Within fruits, it is the largest producer of bananas, accounting for almost 30% of the production. In case of vegetables too, India ranked behind China but the gap was huge, the data revealed.

While India is the world’s largest milk producer, it is the second largest fruit grower behind China. Within fruits, it is the largest producer of bananas, accounting for almost 30% of the production. In case of vegetables too, India ranked behind China but the gap was huge, the data revealed.

Globally, farmers get around 50% of the shelf price. In India the level is around 20-30 %. But that share is slowly increasing.

India has a great potential in improving scale of production through better labour productivity, better yield and cheap mechanization.

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