The green revolution of the 1960s and 1970s ended chronic food deficits and while cereals still command the attention of policy makers, fruit production has surged impressively, making India the second largest global producer behind China.
Annual growth in horticulture has seen fruit production grow faster than vegetables though the latter constitute the largest segment of this sector of agriculture. The stellar performance of fruits has attracted attention of statisticians with the agriculture ministry's 'horticultural statistics at a glance 2015' noting that India was making its presence felt as the second largest producer of vegetables and fruit.
"Grapes occupy the premier position in exports with 107.3 thousand tonnes valued at Rs 1,086 crore in 2014-15. Other fruits which attained significant position in exports are banana and mango," the handbook said.
Robust growth of horticulture indicates a growing demand within the country too. There is scope for further growth as while India lies second in the list of major fruit producing countries featuring China, the US, Brazil, Spain, Mexico, Italy, Indonesia, the Philippines and Turkey, its productivity lags most of these countries.
India's success in horticulture lies in small towns and districts. In 2012-13, Chittoor and Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh, Baramulla in Jammu and Kashmir, Nalgonda in Telangana, Sagar and Shahdol in Madhya Pradesh, Darjeeling in West Bengal and Pune, Aurangabad, Jalgaon and Sangli in Maharashtra shone on India's fruit map.
China tops the list of fruit production with 154.364 million tones (MT) in 2013 followed by India (82.631 MT), Brazil (37.774 MT), USA (26.986 MT), Spain (17.699 MT), Mexico (17.553 MT), Italy (16.371 MT) and Indonesia (16.003 MT). Surprisingly, though productivity is a weak spot, India does better than China and Spain.
Over the last decade, the area under horticulture grew by about 2.7% per annum and annual production increased by 7%".
State-wise, Maharashtra topped the list followed by Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.