India’s horticulture production, at around 287.32 million tonnes, will continue to outstrip that of foodgrain by a good margin in 2016-17 also, even as vegetables might see just a marginal decline.
Foodgrain production is projected to be more than 270 million tonnes.
Under horticulture, fruit production in 2016-17 is expected to be 91.72 million tonnes, against 90.18 million tonnes last year.
Vegetables production in 2016-17, according to the first advanced estimates, is expected to touch 168.59 million tonnes, against 169.06 million tonnes in 2015-16, a fall of less one per cent.
The other items include plantation crops, spices and flowers.
Horticulture production has been more than foodgrain output for the past few years even when the country faced back-to-back droughts in 2014 and 2015.
Kharif grain production, according to the first advanced estimates, was around 135.03 million tonnes, the highest ever, while rabi output could also be good on the back of a record rise in the wheat and pulses area.
Though India’s horticulture output has been growing steadily for the last few years, it is much less than that of China.
That apart, the processing of horticulture produce is low in India as compared to China.
A study by YES Bank a few years ago showed that India has only two per cent of the products in temperature-controlled conditions, while in China the corresponding figure is 15 per cent. In Europe and North America it is 85 per cent.
Cold storage facilities are available for just around 10 per cent of horticulture production in the country and 30-40 per cent of the annual production is wasted before consumption.
In 2009, China processed around 30 per cent of the food (fruit and vegetables), while in India it is far less.