Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country,
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: What is horticulture?
Mains level: Specially mentioned in the syllabus
Data on Horticultural produce
- Production of horticulture crops like vegetables and fruits is likely to touch a record 305.4 million tonnes (mt) in 2017-18, about 1.6% higher than the previous year and 8% higher than the previous five years’ average
(source: Agriculture ministry)
What it shows?
- The data suggests a structural change in Indian agriculture where farmers are increasingly growing perishable commercial crops due to a growing market and a quicker cash flow as these crops require less time from sowing to marketing
Risk for farmers
- Price volatility continues to be a major risk in horticulture, with prices of onions, tomatoes and potatoes plunging below growing costs several times last year
- Retail and wholesale prices of perishables are also at a large variance from each other, implying fragmented markets and poor cold chain facilities
What is Horticulture?
- Horticulture is the science and art of growing (plants) – fruits, vegetables, flowers, and any other cultivar
- It also includes plant conservation, landscape restoration, soil management, landscape and garden design, construction, and maintenance, and arboriculture
- In contrast to agriculture, horticulture does not include large-scale crop production or animal husbandry
- Horticulturists apply their knowledge, skills, and technologies used to grow intensively produced plants for human food and non-food uses and for personal or social needs
- Their work involves plant propagation and cultivation with the aim of improving plant growth, yields, quality, nutritional value, and resistance to insects, diseases, and environmental stresses
- They work as gardeners, growers, therapists, designers, and technical advisors in the food and non-food sectors of horticulture. Horticulture even refers to the growing of plants in a field or garden