Horticulture - Accelerating Farmers Growth (E)

Agriculture and its diverse sectors including horticulture, are the largest sources of income and sustenance in India. The importance of agriculture can be gauged from the fact that 70% of India’s rural households still depend primarily on it for their livelihood. Of this, 82% are small and marginal farmers. But the contribution of Indian farmers to India’s growth story is a matter of pride for all of us – from a net importer of grain in the first two decades after India’s independence, India has become the largest producer of grain in the world contributing some 25% of global production according to the Food & Agricultural Organisation, we are now also the 2nd largest producer of fruit at 10.9% as well as vegetables at 8.6% of the world’s total production. And while these are major achievements, the need of the hour is to rapidly improve the economic condition of smaller and marginal farmers - for this to happen it's important to diversify agricultural practices and for this reason, the Government of India has been focusing on the Horticulture sector which includes vegetables, fruits, ornamental, medicinal and aromatic crops - the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare launched the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture in 2014-15 to provide holistic support to farmers for growing these crops - but there are major challenges, so for this mission to succeed its imperative for farmers to adopt innovative and new scientific techniques like drip irrigation, integrated nutrient and pest management solutions - to see how this can be achieved, our India Science team travelled to Karnal in Haryana, to a Horticulture centre of excellence that is transforming the condition of farmers - the Indo-Israeli Agriculture Project (IIAP) whose implementing partners are National Horticulture Mission (NHM) under the agriculture ministry, and MASHAV, Israel’s agency for international development cooperation. This and much more on this exclusive episode of Science for a Self Reliant India - Only on India Science.

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