India's growing horticulture sector has currently entered into a revolutionary phase. On the one hand, small farmers are taking bigger risks and experimenting with diverse cash crops, and on the other, large corporate houses are taking to horticulture as a profitable business opportunity by bringing in investments and latest technologies. Corporate farming, contract farming and food retail boom having become the present day buzzwords, the entire horticulture landscape is set to witness a big change.
Hoticulture has emerged as an important cash crops sector with the introduction of food processing as an alternate source of income and employment generating upcoming sector for agriculture and horticulture development.
Agriculture, with its allied sectors including horticulture, is unquestionably the largest livelihood provider in India, more so in the vast rural areas. It also contributes a significant figure to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Sustainable agriculture, in terms of food security, rural employment, and environmentally sustainable technologies such as soil conservation, sustainable natural resource management and biodiversity protection, are essential for holistic rural development. Indian agriculture and allied activities have witnessed a green revolution, a white revolution, a yellow revolution and a blue revolution. For better projection of different agriculture concepts with technologies, Agrex India has been added to the work force of different international expositions.
With the growing impact of horticulture industry as a whole, the 8th International Horti Expo 2016 along with 11th International Flora Expo 2016, 10th International Landscape & Gardening Expo 2016 and 2nd Agrex India 2016 is scheduled to be held at Pune.
The series of this expo supported by the Ministry of Agriculture and its departments Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), National Horticulture Board and National Centre for Cold Chain Development, National Mission for Micro Irrigation and also supported by Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), Food Processing & Packaging Machinery Industry Association, Irrigation Association of India, National Medicinal Plant Board, Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Industry Association, India and Indian Flowers and Ornamental Plants Welfare Association.
Under Ministry of Food Processing Industry, preservation and value addition at farm level is a focus area and it also ensures the supply of quality food products to end consumers. On the other hand, the Ministry of Agriculture is aiming to double the production of all horticulture crops through MIDH, NHB and disseminating latest & modern practices of production and post harvest care. Thereby, it is also creating huge employment opportunities for people in rural areas in India by encouraging them to diversify from traditional crops to high value horticulture crops. All this helps in long term economic development.
On the export front, APEDA is quite active. It is targeting agricultural and processed food exports in the range of 15-20 billion dollars in the coming years.
Indian Cold Chain infrastructure is facing problems like lack of an integrated approach and efforts for effective policy formulation and information dissemination. Government investments worth Rs. 18,000 crore to Rs. 20,000 crore (42-46 Million $) are required over the next few years.
Modern Retailing in India is now the world's hottest retail destination where true retail revolution is taking shape in the form of modern food retailing, super market chains, hyper market and cash & carry concepts. All these are creating waves in the Indian corporate sector. With over 300 million middle and higher income population, India is the world's 2nd largest consumer base and fastest growing retail destination. Fresh fruits, vegetables & food intake are increasing and contribute 13% of total organized retail that offers significant scope for investment in all related sectors.
A huge domestic market supports high quality export oriented Fruit & Vegetable production and value addition by providing a unique competitive edge. India, China and Pakistan along with other countries of the region make South Asia as the world's largest market.
Thus, 8th International Horti Expo 2016 will be an eye opener to the farmers, industry people and other stake holders of every segment of agriculture and horticulure who want to expand and diversify their activities.