Describe horticulture as important activity in India.

The cultivation, processing, and sale of fruits, nuts, vegetables, ornamental plants, and flowers as well as many additional services is called horticulture. The horticulture sector includes a wide variety of crops such as fruits, vegetables, spices, plantation crops, floriculture, medicinal and aromatic plants, cashew etc. The diversity of physiographic, climatic and soil characteristics enable India to grow a large variety of horticultural crops. In 2014 India was the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world after China.

1. India grows both tropical and temperate fruits. Some of the fruits produced in India are – Mangoes of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, oranges of Nagpur and Cherrapunjee (Meghalaya), bananas of Kerala, Mizoram, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, etc.

2. India produces about 13 per cent of the world’s vegetables. It is an important producer of a pea, cauliflower, onion, cabbage, tomato, brinjal, and potato.

3. Besides the above-mentioned fruits and vegetables, India also grows a variety of spices which not only have a high internal demand but an increasing export demand. Coconut and cashew are two other important horticultural crops that India is a leading producer of.

4. India is the largest producer of coconut in the world with the distinction of having the highest productivity with the southern states accounting for more than 80 per cent of coconut nuts production.

5. India occupies a premier position in cashew-nut production, contributing about 43 per cent of the world production and is also the largest exporter of cashew-nut in the world.

Horticultural is thus an important agricultural activity in India. Owing to the higher demand and export requirements, it is not only responsible for income generation but also for creating more employment opportunities. It also acts as a practical alternative for areas with low productivity of traditional crops.