The total production of fruits and vegetables in the world is around 370 MT. India ranks first in the world with an annual output of 32 MT fruits, about 8% of the world’s fruit production; also is the second largest producer of vegetables (ranks next to China) and accounts for about 15% of the world’s production of vegetables. The current production level is over 71 million MT and the total area under vegetable cultivation is around 6.2 million hectares which is about 3% of the total area under cultivation in the country. The diverse agro-climatic zones in the country make it possible to grow almost all varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables in India.
According to National Horticulture Board the main fruits grown in India are apple, banana, lime/lemon, mosambi, orange (mandarin), grapes, mango and papaya. In case of vegetables, potato, tomato, onion, cabbage and cauliflower account for around 60% of the total vegetable production in the country. Vegetables are typically grown in India in field conditions; the concept is opposed to the cultivation of vegetables in green houses as practiced in developed countries for high yields.
Only 2% of these crops are processed into value-added products. Hence, there is a need for maximum commercial utilization of fruits and vegetables and to adapt production and marketing activities to the requirements of the world market and to cater to domestic demand which, over the past few years, has been increasing because of various socio-economic factors. If the nutritive value of the processed food products could be maintained, this sector would emerge as a major value-added food industry.
There are over 4000 fruit processing units in India with an aggregate capacity of more than 12 lakh MT (less than 4% of total fruits produced). It is estimated that around 20% of the production of processed fruits is meant for exports, the rest caters to the defense, institutional sectors and household consumption. Mango and mango-based products constitute 50% of exports.
The fruits and vegetables considered important by the Horticulture Board of India are mostly grown in the areas of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, hilly regions of North Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Tripura, West Bengal and Orissa.
Eva Reñé Bañeres, June 15th 2011
Collaborator of INDOLINK