Indian Horticulture Directory
The separation of horticulture from agriculture as a distinct activity is usually dated from the Middle Ages in Europe.
Horticulture can be divided into three main sectors: fruit growing (pomology); market gardening (vegetables and herbs) and ornamental cultivation (flowers, shrubs, trees).
Long after Mughal Emperors practised horticulture in the country, Rev William Carey, an English Baptist Missionary, founded the Agri-Horticultural Society in India in 1820 for the promotion and development of agriculture in the country. With the foundation of the society, a wide variety of vegetables and fruits were introduced in the market to which the Indian society was completely oblivious. Before the formation of the society, good vegetables were scarcely possible to be procured. Consequently, the finest vegetables, fruits, and herbs became easily procurable in the market.
In 1820, Carey published an essay presenting reasons for the establishment of an Agricultural Society in India. Carey's essay on supporting the formation of an agricultural and horticultural society in India states the following grounds Carey predicted for the society.
Encouraging the better mode of cultivation for the improvement of the land.
Evolving and using the best methods of crop rotation and land-cropping.
Introduction of useful and new types of plants.
Improvement in the implementation of husbandry practices.
Improvement in animal husbandry.
Inclusion of wastelands into a state of cultivation.
Society continues its endeavor in introducing a plethora of better strains of cereals, vegetables, and fruit trees. After India attained independence, National Horticulture Board (NHB) was set up by Government of India in April 1984 on the basis of recommendations of the "Group on Perishable Agricultural Commodities", headed by Dr. M. S. Swaminathan, the then Member (Agriculture), Planning Commission, Government of India.
The main objectives of the NHB have been to improve the integrated development of the Horticulture industry and to help in coordinating, sustaining the production and processing of fruits and vegetables. One of the major objectives of NHB has been to provide assistance in securing the availability of quality planting material. They seek to achieve it by promoting setting up of scion and rootstock banks/mother plant nurseries and carrying out accreditation/rating of horticulture nurseries.
The Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) is an autonomous organization acting as a nodal agency for basic, strategic, anticipatory, and applied research on various aspects of horticulture such as fruits, vegetables, ornamental, medicinal and aromatic plants and mushrooms in India.
Horticulture Farming in India
Over the years, India has emerged as a major producer of horticultural crops and the share of horticulture in the economy has been increasing, there is still a lot of scope in harnessing the potential of this sector. Prices of agricultural commodities fluctuate in accordance with their supply and demand situation which, in turn, is characterized by the seasonality of production and marketing. Horticulture commodities are produced seasonally and are perishable. On account of these characteristics, such commodities register fluctuation of prices from month to month.
Currently, the nutritional intake of fruits and vegetables is higher among the urban population than that of the rural population. Along with urbanization, people are likely to increase their calorie intake at a higher pace through fruits and vegetables—the increase in calorie intake is more than 10% in the urban area whereas it is merely 1.89% in a rural area over the period from 2004-05 to 2009-10. It is estimated that the per capita fruit availability in our country is less than 200 gm per day, which is far below the recommended quantity of 230 gm per capita per day.