India’s diverse climate ensures the availability of all varieties of fresh fruits & vegetables. It ranks second in fruits and vegetable production in the world, after China. As per the National Horticulture Database published by National Horticulture Board, during 2015-16, India produced 90.2 million metric tonnes of fruits and 169.1 million metric tonnes of vegetables. The area under cultivation of fruits stood at 6.3 million hectares while vegetables were cultivated at 10.1 million hectares.
India is the largest producer of ginger and okra amongst vegetables and ranks second in production of potatoes, onions, cauliflowers, brinjal, Cabbages, etc. Amongst fruits, the country ranks first in production of Bananas (25.7%), Papayas (43.6%) and Mangoes (including mangosteens and guavas) (40.4%).
The vast production base offers India tremendous opportunities for export. During 2017-18, India exported fruits and vegetables worth Rs. 9,410.81 crores/ 1,459.93 USD Millions which comprised of fruits worth Rs. 4,229.03 crores/ 655.90 USD Millions and vegetables worth Rs. 5181.78 crores/ 804.03 USD Millions.
Mangoes, Walnuts, Grapes, Bananas, Pomegranates account for larger portion of fruits exported from the country while Onions, Okra, Bitter Gourd, Green Chillies, Mushrooms and Potatoes contribute largely to the vegetable export basket.
The major destinations for Indian fruits and vegetables are UAE, Sri Lanka, Netherland, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Nepal, UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Though India’s share in the global market is still nearly 1% only, there is increasing acceptance of horticulture produce from the country. This has occurred due to concurrent developments in the areas of state-of-the-art cold chain infrastructure and quality assurance measures. Apart from large investment pumped in by the private sector, the public sector has also taken initiatives and with APEDA’s assistance, several Centers for Perishable Cargoes and integrated post-harvest handling facilities have been set up in the country. Capacity building initiatives at the farmers, processors and exporters’ levels have also contributed towards this effort.