New Delhi: The country is set to witness a major increase in banana, potato and onion production in 2020-21, according to the first advance estimates of 2020-21 of area and production of horticultural crops by the Ministry of Agriculture.
The estimates played a crucial role in driving up the total production of vegetables and fruits in 2020-21.
According to the estimates, banana production is estimated to increase from 32.5 million tonnes in 2019-20 to 33.73 million tonnes in 2020-21.
The area under banana cultivation in the country is also estimated to increase from 8,97,000 hectares to 9,20,000 hectares in the same period.
Potato production is estimated to increase to 53.11 million tonnes in 2020-21 from 48.56 million tonnes in 2019-20.
Onion production is estimated to increase to 26.29 million tonnes, as compared to 26.09 million tonnes in 2019-20.
All these estimates have played a crucial role in propelling the total vegetable production estimate — to 193.61 million tonnes in 2020-21 as compared to 188.91 million tonnes in 2019-20.
The overall fruit production is also estimated to increase — to 103.23 million tonnes in 2020-21 as compared to 102.03 million tonnes in 2019-20.
However, the production of tomato, apple and spices is estimated to see a decline in 2020-21.
Experts, meanwhile, said the government’s sustained technological support and policy incentives have been driving the increase in vegetable and fruit production in the country.
The estimated decline
Tomato, a key kitchen staple across the country, is estimated to register a decline in its production in 2020-21 — from 21.17 million tonnes last year to 20.14 million tonnes in 2020-21.
The dip in tomato production comes despite an estimated increase in acreage — from 8,11,000 hectares in 2019-20 to 8,25,000 hectares in 2020-21.
Similarly, apple, a fruit consumed widely across the country, will also see an estimated decline in production — from 2.8 million tonnes in 2019-20 to 2.5 million tonnes in 2020-21.
The total spices production in India is also estimated to take a hit in 2020-21 with a production decline of 10.243 million tonnes as compared 10.298 million tonnes in 2019-20.
The decline in spice production comes due to a dip in cumin’s estimated production — from 0.9 million tonnes in 2019-20 to 0.8 million tonnes in 2020-21.
Similarly, ginger and tamarind production is also estimated to decline to 1.832 million tonnes and 0.147 million tonnes, respectively, in 2020-21 — from 1.884 million tonnes and 0.190 million tonnes in 2019-20.
Policy incentives driving production
Dr A.K. Singh, deputy director general (horticulture), Indian Council of Agricultural Research, told ThePrint, “The sustained technological support and policy incentive has been driving the increase in vegetable and fruits production across the country.”
“…year after year introduction of technologically improved high yielding varieties has drastically improved the production in our country. Similarly, policy incentives such as cold storage availability, subsidy on inputs related to horticulture plants have also promoted fruit and vegetable production in the country.”
“Fruits and vegetables are also short terms and more value added crops as compared to food grains in the country. This is also the reason why a majority of farmers especially those who are skilled are shifting towards fruits and vegetable cultivation in the country leading to an increase in their cultivation,” he added.
Speaking about the estimated decrease in tomato production, Singh said tomato prices crashed during the lockdown and farmers were not able to realise the estimated price of the crop last year.
“This has led to a decrease in estimate of initial production. However, since tomato is a short duration 100-day crop and as things are opening up after lockdown, its prices will also go up leading to a recovery in tomato production across the country by the end of this year,” he added.
(Edited by Debalina Dey)