Discuss the comparative trends in horticulture production vis-i-vis food grains production in India in recent years. Do these trends indicate rise (of fall) in income of cultivators? Discuss.
As per advance estimates of the agriculture ministry, horticulture production in 2016-17 is estimated at a record 300 MT which is 4.8% higher than the previous year. During the same period, the food production rose from 251MT to 275 MT. Therefore the horticulture production is more than food production. This trend is continuing since 2012-13. The continuous rise in horticultural production reflects growing demand of consumers for horticulture products. This has led to increase in the cultivated area under horticulture crops.
However, the problem is that increased horticulture horticultural production is not an indicator of farmer’s income rise. The major problem is that farmers had to sell their produce mainly perishable items at throw away prices. There are various reasons for this, one is lack of cold storage and transportation infrastructure as horticulture items perish quickly farmers are compelled to sell them at any price. Another reason is lack of proper supply chain along with food processing industry. If processing industry is integrated with production areas then not only farmers will get a good price, it will also help in reducing wastage.
The need of the hour is to create adequate storage and transportation infrastructure. Along with that investment in food processing industry should be given priority as it will not only help in value addition, along with that it will provide employment opportunities & better income for farmers.
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