World Conference on Horticultural Research - 17-20 June 1998 in Rome, Italy
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Deputy Director GeneralOSH
Deputy Director General (Horticulture)
Indian Council of Agricultural Research
New Delhi

Organisation of Horticultural Research:

Horticultural research in India is hardly four decades old. The institutions involved in horticultural research and their roles are :

At National Level :

Central Research Institutes (CRI), Project Directorate (PD) and National Research Centres (NRC) set up by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) are engaged mainly in :

i) Basic and applied research for developing strategies to enhance productivity and utilization of horticultural crops;
ii) Act as repository of scientific information relevant to horticulture;
iii) Provide training of scientific and technical manpower in horticulture and
iv) To provide consultancy to promote horticulture development.

Today 8 CRIs with 27 Regional Stations, 1 PD and 10 NRCs are operational directly under the administrative control of the Horticulture Division of the ICAR. In addition, 7 multi-disciplinary institutions of ICAR are also engaged in horticultural research.

The ICAR has also launched a good number of network projects named as All India Co-ordinated Research Projects (AICRPs) on different horticultural crops. The cardinal feature of the AICRP is its operation on a country wide basis under the direct supervision andion on a country wide basis under the direct supervision and technical guidance of the ICAR. Each co-ordinated project is headed by a Project Co-ordinator (PC) appointed by the ICAR and under such projects both the CRIs/NRCs of the ICAR and the State Agricultural Universities (SAUs) work as teams to find solutions to certain specific problems. Today there are 15 AICRPs on different horticultural crops, operational at 215 research centres all throughout the country.

At State Level :

Regional research is primarily being undertaken by the State Agricultural Universities (SAUs). One full fledged University on horticulture in the Himalayan State of Himachal Pradesh and 25 SAUs with large number of research stations in 17 major states of the country are presently implementing applied research and generating location specific technology for various horticultural crops.

In addition, traditional Universities, and other Central organisations like the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Department of Biotechnology, Atomic Energy Research Centre and others also undertake horticultural research projects in basic/stragetic area such as biotechnology. For finding solutions to specific and identified problems, ICAR provides funding support to non-ICAR institutions through large number of time bound ad-hoc projects. International collaboration and certain foreign aided projects also promoted horticultural research in cts also promoted horticultural research in the countries in certain specific areas.

HRD in Horticulture :

So far Human Resources Development (HRD) is concerned, it falls under two catagories (a) formal education like graduate and post graduate degree programmes offered by Universities (b) informal training at specialised institutes both within the country and abroad.

The ICAR is the national body for promoting agricultural education in the country. It aids, promotes and coordinates agricultural education being imparted by the State Agricultural Universities (SAUs). All the 26 SAUs offer graduate and post graduate (master and doctorate) degrees in horticulture. One of the ICAR's own institute, namely, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi also offers P.G. degree in horticulture covering specialisations in fruits, vegetables, floriculture and post harvest technology (PHT) of horticultural crops. The agricultural education system in the country offers degree programmes in agriculture, covering various disciplines including horticulture with a total annual intake of about 10,000 students at the undergraduate level and 4500 students at the post graduate level.

The P.G. programme in 26 State Agricultural Universities and at the IARI, New Delhi provides specialised manpower required for servicing both teaching departments and the research institutions. At masters degree level ssearch institutions. At masters degree level specialised courses in pomology, olericulture, floriculture and PHT are offered, whereas Ph.D. research progrmme is mainly commodity based. The research establishments directly under the control of the ICAR (total 19 institutes) has got a scientific cadre strength of 839, covering horticulture and other related disciplines. The horticulture degree holders constitute 213 out of 839 (25.3%). The teaching and research departments of horticulture in the SAUs have equal or more number of scientists involved in R&D activities.

Institutional support for informal training within the country comes from the following :-
1. Crop/Commodity Institutes (7) 

1. NRCs (10) 

1. Project Directorate (1) 

1. SAUs (26) 

1. Other ICAR Institutions 

Indian Institute of Horticulture Research (IIHR), Bangalore; Central Institute of Sub-tropical Horticulture (CISH), Lucknow; Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI), Shimla; Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (CTCRI), Trivandrum; Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI), Kasargod, Kerala; Indian Institute of Spice Research (IISR), Calicut; Central Institute of Temperate Horticulture (CITice Research (IISR), Calicut; Central Institute of Temperate Horticulture (CITH), Srinagar. 

Citrus, Banana, Grape, Arid Horticulture, Onion and Garlic, Mushroom, Orchid, Oilpalm, Cashew, Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. 

Project Directorate for Vegetable Research (PDVR), Varanasi. 

With separate Department/ Divisions of Horticulture. 

Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI, New Delhi), ICAR Complex for NEH Region, Barapani and Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur, ICAR Research Complex, Goa. 



At National Level :

Relevance to National Plans and Priorities

The Horticulture Division of ICAR is responsible for national level planning and promotion of major research programmes in relation to horticultural crops. The principal goals of the research division were determined by the policy directives of the Planning Commission of the Government of India and the research agenda was framed keeping in view the general strategy of horticulture development of the Ministry of Agriculture. Since the CRIs/NRCs and AICRPs were approved as plan schemes, their mandates have been greatly influenced by the thrusts of developmental plans at various points of time.

Based on the policy directives of the Planning Commission, the working groups set up for different Five Year Plg Commission, the working groups set up for different Five Year Plans (FYPs) determine the principal goals of different research divisions of the ICAR. The research agenda is, therefore, by design relevant to national plans and priorities. Since the Horticulture Division at the ICAR Headquarters has been created only recently during the VIIthe Plan (1985-1990) and major expansions of research infrastructure has taken place thereafter, research programmes in horticulture have been formulated keeping in view the thrust areas in development.

During the VIIIth Plan, (1992-97) major developmental strategies revolved around (i) Increased production (ii) Better post-harvest handling, and (iii) Export promotion of horticultural commodities. The major technology related constraints contributing to low productivity of crops and inferior quality of products identified by the MOA, Government of India are :

i) Large tracts of low and unproductive plantations;
ii) Low productivity of crops due to inferior material and poor management;
iii) Inadequate supply of plant/seed material of genuine quality;
iv) High incidence of pests and diseases;
v) Heavy post harvest losses.

The CRIs and NRCs of ICAR are to undertake basic and applied research of national importance, while regional research is primarily being undertaken by the SAUs. Under the AICRPs, both the ICAR institutions and the SAUs work as teams to find solutions to certain specific probles to find solutions to certain specific problems.

Infrastructure-wise, the CRIs are better equipped to take up crop improvement works and in tackling national problems such as mango malformation, guava wilt, citrus decline, spongy tissue of mango, bunchy top in banana, root wilt in coconut, quick wilt in black pepper, etc. More recently, CRIs are also emphasising biotechnological work on various horticultural crops, including micropropagation through tissue culture techniques. Most of the CRIs have rich germplasm collections of respective commodities and have got strong breeding programmes. Post harvest technological work is receiving greater attention in more recent times, and the institutions are developing research infrastructure for development of new processed products and more efficient post-harvest handling of the commodities to avoid losses.

The SAUs have developed research stations in different agro-ecological zones of the country and are engaged in development of location specific, need based production technology for different agro-climatic zones. Development of horticultural based cropping systems, water and nutrient management, plant protection schedules and on-farm post harvest management of fruits and vegetables are some of the areas in which SAU research stations are better placed. Some of the SAUs are also working in emerging areas like micro-system of irrigation, integrated pest management and tissue culture teched pest management and tissue culture techniques. Post harvest research is not so strong in most of the SAUs.


Fruit Industry : Current Scenario

The fruit industry in India has made remarkable progress during the last three decades (1961-1993). The area under fruits has increased from 1.22 million ha in 1961 to 3.94 million ha in 1993-94. As per FAO year book 1994 India ranked second after China with a production of about 33.23 million tonnes. India's share in the world production of fruits is about 8% and India produces about 65% of the world mangoes and 11% of the world bananas, ranking first in both the crops . Although banana occupies less than 12% of the area under fruits, it contributes nearly 32% of the total fruit production in the country. Quantitywise out of all fruits produced in the country, maximum production is in banana (32%). The five fruits (mango, banana, citrus, guava and apple) alone cover about 75% of the total fruits produced in the country. In a less known fruits like sapota, ber (Zizyphus sp.), aonla (Emblica officianalis) and pomegranate area expansion and production rise during the recent years is simply spectacular.

India has been exporting fresh fruits since several decades. However, in the more recent past export promotional activities for fresh fruits received greater attention. The fresh fruits es received greater attention. The fresh fruits exports which were only 27208 tonnes valued at Rs. 17.4 million in 1983-84 rose to 55400 tonnes valued Rs. 4367 million during 1994-95. Certain other fruits like pomegranate, sapota, banana, litchi, apple and strawberry also entered fresh fruit export market in limited quantities. India not only started exporting grapes but also produces good quality raisins and wines from grapes.

Research Achievements :

A. Crop Improvement :

The gene pools of mango (more than 650 accessions) available in the country have largely been evaluated and from systematic studies the horticulturally important characters like dwarfness, regularity of bearing, season of cropping, fruit characters (size, colour, quality) and resistance to pests and diseases have been recorded. The identified donor sources have largely been employed in breeding programmes, which have resulted in release of a good number of mango hybrids in the country.

In India about 30 commercial varieties are grown largely and there is a distinct consumer preference of varieties in different regions. Isozyme studies revealed that north Indian varieties differ genetically from south Indian varieties. Some of the ruling commercial varieties in different regions of India are :

Important Mango varieties for different Regions :

i) Northern India - Dashehari, Langra, Bombay Gre

i) Northern India - Dashehari, Langra, Bombay Green, Chausa, Fazli.
ii) Central India - Langra, Dashehari, Chausa, Safeda and Sunderja.
iii) Western India - Alphonso, Kesar, Mankurad, Vanraj.
iv) Southern India - Banganpalli, Totapuri, Neelam, Pairi, Mulgoa, Kalepad, Rumani.
v) Eastern India - Langra, Kishan Bhog, Zardalu, Fazli, Himsagar, Bombai, Malda.

Systematic mango breeding work started in sixties. Some of the important mango hybrids developed are : Mallika, Amrapali, Ratna, Sindhu, Arka Aruna, Arka Puneet. A mango hybrid, CISH-M-1, developed from a cross of Amrapalli X Janardhan Pasand has been found very promising in yield and for export with medium sized (250 g) attractive (bright yellow with deep red blush) fruits.

A clonal selection from the popular Deshehari having regular bearing habit and 39% higher yield has also been made.

In Banana, 585 indigenous and 32 exotic collections are maintained in field gene bank. In-vitro storage of germplasm under minimal growth conditions have been found feasible in banana. Method of shoot-tip culture or meristem culture, medium for proliferation have been worked out for different clones. More than 120 clones from different groups have been successfully conserved. Incapsulation of meristem has been successful having acceptable in-vitro germination. A triploid hybrid H 135 has been released as CO 1. Iiploid hybrid H 135 has been released as CO 1. It is a pome group of banana with AAB genomic constitution and resembles Virupakshi (AAB), a popular hill banana. Large number of crosses have been made using Agniswar (Pome AAB), Palayankodan (Mysore, AAB), Harichal (AAA), Lacatan (AAA), Mannan (AAB), Nendran (AAB) as female parents and Pisang lillin as male parent. The progenies from the cross Agniswar X Pisang lillin showed superiority for bunch weight ranging from 14-16 kg. This hybrid was found highly promising in the regions where sigatoka leaf spot is a serious problem. It has also showed resistance to Fusarium wilt and burrowing nematode. Gandevi selection, Hanuman or Padarse is popular for heavy bunch weight (55-60 kg). Clonal selection, Grand Naine is popular in some parts of the country.

Out of the different commercial citrus cultivars, area-wise mandarins, sweet orange and acid lime occupy 45%, 30% and 25% respectively. The mandarin wealth of the country comprises of Nagpur mandarin in Central India, Coorg mandarin in South India, Khasi mandarin in northeastern region, Darjeeling mandarin in Sikkim and West Bengal and hybrid Kinnow in north-west region. The traditional critrus fruits i.e., sweet orange and local mandarin in north western region have been replaced by Kinnow, a hybrid of King X Willow Leaf introduced in Punjab in 1 X Willow Leaf introduced in Punjab in 1956, owing to its wider adaptability, responsive to inputs and high economic returns. The high yielding and cluster bearing cultivars viz., Pramalini, Vikram and PKM-1 (Jai Devi) and Sai Sarbati are promising cultivars of acid lime.

In papaya, systematic germplasm collection and evaluation work was carried out since 1965. Studies on more than 100 germplasm lines of papaya showed that papaya exhibits variability in respect of plant height (1 to 2.5 m), plant vigour (dwarf to vigorous), plant colour (purple to whitish green), flower type (staminate to pistillate), fruit shape (long to round), fruit size (5 to 30 cm diameter), fruit weight (0.090-13.0 kg), fruit number (10-80), skin colour (golden yellow to dark green), flesh colour (pale yellow to blood red), taste (bitter to very sweet), flavour (objectionable odour to acceptable). Further progeny row plot trials helped in identifying different desirable parental lines useful for breeding programme. The component characters, viz leaf length, earliness in fruiting, number of nodes to first flowering, single fruit weight and height of plants, were found to be important for expression of genetic diversity.

Till date 15 high-yielding varieties of papaya have been developed in the country, out of which 9 are widely adopted. Some successful hybrids have also been developed and heterosis has also been noticed with a wide rerosis has also been noticed with a wide range of breeding materials. Some of the improved varieties are Coorg Honey Dew, Pusa Dwarf, Pusa Giant, Pusa Delicious and CO series (1-7).

In grapes, most of the present day cultivars are introductions or their derivatives. The native species of India wildly growing in north-western Himalayan foothills resemble Vitis lanata and V.riparia. Three varieties, namely Rangspay, Shoultu White and Shoultu Red grown in Himachal Pradesh are poor in quality. Number of commercial varieties like Anab-e-Shahi, Bangalore Blue, Bhokri, Gulabi, Thompson Seedless, Perlette, Beauty Seedless are exotic in origin. Certain other introductions like Black Champa, Angur Kalan are found to be promising for south Indian condition, whereas certain mutant selections like Tas-A-Ganesh and Sonaka, are becoming more popular in Maharashtra (Western India). A few hybrids viz., Arkavathi, Arka Kanchan, Arka Shyam and Arka Hans have been developed by the Indian Institute of Horticulture Research (IIHR), Bangalore for multipurporse use. A black seedless hybrid Arka Neelmani, and the 'Sharad Seedless', a selection from Russian variety 'Kishmush Chorni', are promising black varieties for commercial production.

Some of the underutilized crop like

Some of the underutilized crop like Jujube or Ber (Zizyphus mauritiana Lam), Aonla or Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis), Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), Bael (Aegle marmelos), custard apple (Annona squamosa), Jamun (Syzygium cumini). Karonda (Carissa carandas), Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) are spread over the entire tropical and sub-tropical belts of the country. Some of these underutilized fruits have good nutritive value and has considerable local demands. Table shows the germplasm availability in India.

TABLE : Germ plasm accessions of underutilised fruits maintained in India. <>Aegle) marmelos)
Ber (Zizyphus sp.)
Umran, Banarsi Karaka, Gola, Seo
Aonla (Emblica officinalis)
Banarsi, Chakaiya, Krishna, Kanchan, NA-7, NA-8, NA-10.
Custard Apple (Annona sp.)
Balanagar, Mammoth, Arka, Arka Sahan.
Beal (Aegle) marmelos)
Kaghji Gonda, NB-5, NB-9
Kaghji Gonda, NB-5, NB-9
Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus). 
Gulabi, Hazari, Rudrakshi, Muttam Varikka

Miscellaneous Fruits :

In pomegranate, the variety Ganesh is most widely grown, particularly in the state of Maharashtra. Certain other selections like Jyoti, G-137, P-23 and P-26 have been found to be promising. Hybrids namely Mridula (Rahuri) and 15-9-94 (IIHR) have better colours and good quality fruits.

In sapota, improvement through clonal selection resulted in identification of varieties naemly CO-2 and PKM-1. Intervarietal hybrid from crossing of Cricket Ball and Oval have resulted superior quality fruits and released as CO-1. So far 7 varieties have been developed utilising the gene pool available in the country.

In datepalm, the variety Halawy is an early maturing type which can grow successfully in marginal arid lands. Other important cultivars are Khuneja, Bahre, Zahidi, Khadrawy and Shamran. Some 20 selections have been made from the Kachh area of Gujarat State.

In fig, varieties namely Poona, Brown Turkey, Shahi, Hindupur, Maisram and Daulatabad have been recommended for commercial cultivation in south India.

Temperate Fruits :

Apple has a spectth India.

Temperate Fruits :

Apple has a spectacular growth in India. It accounts for more than 50 per cent production among all the temperate fruits, which include pome, stone and nut fruits. The North Western Himalayan region of India, comprising of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), Himachal Pradesh (H.P.) and western Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) is the major production centre accounting for 95% of the area and 85% of total temperate fruit production. Apple cultivation covers an estimated area of 0.21 million ha with a production of 1.1 million tonnes of fruit.

Coloured varieties of delicious group (Red, Royal, Golden) occupy more than 80% area in Himachal Pradesh and about 44% in J&K and 30% in U.P. In recent years, a shift from delicious varieties to improved spur-types and standard coloured mutants has been observed. Some of the promising spur type varieties are : Red Spur, Star Krimson, Golden Spur, Red Chief and Oregan Spur. The varieties like Skyline Supreme and Vance Delicious are important colour mutants of promise. In J&K, there is a local type variety known as Ambri which has excellent keeping quality and good shape of fruits. This variety has been utilised in breeding programme extensively, a result of which a few hybrids namely, Lal Ambri (Red Delicious X Ambri) and Sunehari (Ambri X Golden Delicious) were released. Entire package of practices for apple has been developed and apple marketing has been well organised apple marketing has been well organised through establishment of HP Horticulture Processing and Marketing Corporation Limited (HPMC). Apple is now available throughout the country and RTS apple juice has become a popular drink.

Other temperate fruits like peach, plum, apricot, almond and walnuts are grown to limited extent. India exports walnut in large quatity and apple in a limited quantity.

The biotechnological research for crop improvement in different fruit crops is still in the early stage of development in India. The cropwise positions are as follows :

a. MANGO :
Repetitive and proliferative somatic embryogenesis has been achieved using nucellar explants in monoembryonic varieties. High frequency somatic embryogenesis from necellus tissue of monoembryonic mango variety Arka Anmol has been achieved. Media composition for the conversion of embryogenic callus cells to embryos, their development, maturation and germination leading to the formation of complete plantlets has been worked out.

Suspension cultures have been raised from nucellar callus in mango hybrid of Amrapali to maximise production of somatic embryos. Direct plantlet regeneration was induced from higher embryos and somatic embryogenesis was induced in immature zygotic embryos of certain mango cultivars.

Clonal multiplication has been achieved using rhizome tip as starter culture been achieved using rhizome tip as starter culture of 36 clones of banana from different parts of the country. Micropropagation in banana has gone commercial. Elite clones of banana cultivar Robusta developed through micropropagation for their higher yield. Hybrid embryos from a cross between Musa accuminata and M. balbasiana were cultured to yield single embryo clones which have been transplanted into soil. Hybrid embryos were also rescued from other difficult crosses of banana.

Multiple shoot induction and rooting have been achieved in shoot tips derived from field-grown matured acid lime plants. Hybrid embryos from a cross involving 'Seedless lime' and 'Acid lime' were cultured in vitro and fully developed plantlets were obtained. Further augmentation of the hybrid plant material has been effected through single node culture and in vitro layering.

Stenospermocarpic ovules excised from crosses involoving seedless parents and open-pollinaed ovules from seedless hybrids were cultured at 30-60 days post pollination. Embryos were excised from these ovules 8 weeks upon culture and returned to the same medium. A small percentage of the embryos put forth callus.

Seeds containing hybrid embryos of pineapple (Kew X Queen) were cultured on nutrient media. A fast growing callus mass was induced from the embryos which evecallus mass was induced from the embryos which eventually differentiated into shoot buds. Fully developed plantlets so derived were successfully grown to maturity in pots.

B. Propagation :

Vegetative propagation techniques have been standardised in most of the fruit crops. Soft wood grafting standardised for mango, sapota, custard apple, jackfruit, whereas other vegetative propagation techniques of ber, aonla, jackfruit, custard apple, bael developed. In mango, veneer grafting and stone grafting is practised commercially. Vallaikolumban variety of mango has been found to be a semi-dwarfing rootstock for Alphonso mango. For mandarin orange, Rangur lime is a drought hardy rootstock. In grapes, Dogridge and Salt Creek (Ramsey) are suitable to minimize adverse effects of soil salinity on Thompson Seedless. A tissue culture technique for mass multiplication of Dogridge has been standardised. In banana, sword suckers of 700-1000g are optimum. Rhizome with active lateral buds and dead control bud are preferred for distant transportation in Western India. Double paring and shade drying followed by dipping of 0.5% monocrotophos and 0.2% Bavistin is recommended to disinfect against nematode and soil borne fungi. Tissue culture banana plants are now commercially adopted. Uniformity in flowering and uniform harvest from tissue cultured plants have been demonstrated cultured plants have been demonstrated at different locations.

Micropropagation protocols for apple, grapes, pineapple, papaya, strawberry are available in the country. Shoot-tip grafting technique in citrus has been considerably advanced.

C. Pest-diseases and Plant Protection :

Chemical control measures of important insect pests of most of the fruit crops have been worked out and are being practised by orchardists. In more recent times pest control research efforts have been directed to devise eco-friendly, economical and long lasting control measures. Success has been achieved in biological control of mealy bugs in mango, guava. Beauveria bassiana has been found killing mango mealy bugs and hoppers. In grapes, integrated management of Spodoptera caterpillars involving light and pheromone traps, NPV and neem based insecticides and biological control of mealy bugs by the beetle Cryptolaemus montrouzieri have been standardised. Application of Carbofuran or Aldicarb @ 0.6 kg a.i./ha is effective in control of root knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita. In banana Fusarium wilt is serious on Rasthali group, while Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) is one of the most devastating disease for dwarf cavendish group. Banana bract mosaic is widely prevelant on Monthan group of banana is southern India. Presently use of disease free planting materials, rouguin of disease free planting materials, rouguing of infected plants and sanitation are recommended for management of these diseases.

In citrus, major insect pests are : Citrus blackfly and Psylla in Nagpur mandarin; scales and mealy bugs in Coorg mandarin and trunk borer in Khasi mandarins. Chemical control measures suggested to control major pests. Mass multiplication techniques of Mallada bonineusis, the predator of soft-body insects including blackfly and psylla and biocontrol of citrus mealybug standardised. Phytophthora rot is the major disease in citrus and biological control through Trichoderma isolates has been advanced with considerable success. Both for citrus (mandarin orange) and mango preharvest spray schedules to control post harvest diseases have been standardised. For mango, three preharvest sprays of Bavistin (0.1%) or Topsin-M (0.1%) at 15 days interval, last spray 15 days prior to harvest, have been suggested. Studies on pesticide residues have resulted in working out safe-waiting periods for harvesting and consumption of most of the fruits.

D. Integrated Production Systems :

A number of improved production technologies for different fruit crops have been developed for different agro-climatic zones of the country, which have helped the farmers in improving productivity and quality of the produce considerably. Some of the important agro-tec considerably. Some of the important agro-techniques developed by the research system are :
  1. High density planting in banana (4400 plants/ha), pineapple (63400 plants/ha) and papaya (1.4 X 1.4m spacing) recommended.
  2. Rootstocks for crops like citrus, grapes, apple and others standardised. Dwarfing rootstocks for mango identified.
  3. Fertilizer schedules of a number of crops have been worked out for different agro-climatic zones. Similarly, leaf nutrient guides for monitoring nutrient status of fruit orchards and making more precise fertilizer recommendations have been developed. In mango, critical limits of leaf nutrients worked out for N,P and K were 1.10, 0.08 and 0.52 percent, whereas for mandarin orange (Nagpur variety) optimum levels of N,P and K are 2.34, 0.08 and 1.56 per cent respectively. Nutritional survey of Nagpur mandarin orchards showed that nitrogen, phosphorus and zinc are the major nutrient constraints in limiting productivity.
  4. Annual fruiting in mango has been obtained by application of Paclobutrazol @ 5 gm/tree in the soil in the month of July-August. Paclobutrazol is in use on commercial scale in Maharashtra and Gujarat particularly for Alphonso variety.
  5. In grapes pruning of cv. Perlette to 3-4 buds and in Thompson Seedless to 6-7 buds have been found to be better. Dormex (1.5%) induces early ripening. Stage a to be better. Dormex (1.5%) induces early ripening. Stage and concentrations of GA3 applications for both table and raisin grapes have also been standardised for Thompson Seedless variety.
  6. Water management research has been advanced considerably. In banana drip irrigation induced earliness, saved water and increased yield by 40-45%. In citrus and grapes drip irrigation is gaining, popularity, particularly in the Central India, where water is in scarce. In grapes, withholding irrigation during 40-70 days after back pruning not only economised water use but also increased the yield.

E. Post Harvest Management and Processing :

The post harvest management research have resulted in generation of valuable information on maturity standards, grading, pretreatments, packaging, transportation and loss assessment of fruits and vegetables. Post harvest treatments to control storage diseases, precooling and temperature management to increase shelf life and processing of fruits and vegetables are certain other areas where research has been persued. The low cost environment friendly cool chamber or the so called 'Zero Energy Cool Chamber' developed on the principle of evaporative cooling has been found to be very useful for on-farm storage of fruits and vegetables. The precooling technology is being extensively used in post harvest handling of grapes and precooling of mango to 12-15o C with 500 poling of mango to 12-15o C with 500 ppm Bavistin increased the shelf life considerably. Development of package line for Nagpur mandarin, ventilated CFB box packaging for mango, citrus, apple etc., long distance road transportation practices for banana and sea transportation of mango for export, raw mango peeler are some of the other achievements in post harvest management research in fruits and vegetables. Some of the technologies like mango kernal fruit as coco substitute, essential oil from citrus, fruit wines, tamarind juice concentrates, papain from raw papaya fruits, improved dehydrated products from grapes, pomegranate, mango, apricot, etc, have gone commercial.

For export promotion and value addition, varietal screening work has been intensified in more recent years. Mango hybrids Ratna and Sindhu are well suited for canned slices and pulp making. Arka Puneet and Arka Anmol varieties of mango are also suitable for preparation of canned mango juice. Two varieties of grape Arka Soma and ArkaTrishna are suitable for production of good quality wine, while Arkavathi is good for raisin making.

F. Economics, Management and Marketing :

As per the estimates made by the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, the total fruit production is expected to be 46..9 million tonnes by 1997. Data available with National Horticulture Board indicate t with National Horticulture Board indicate that area under fruit crops have increased in all the states, excepting 2-3 states and during last four years average annual growth in area expansion and production was about 4%.

Mango production has improved substantially in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, whereas citrus has become highly remunerative recording a 47 per cent price increase in mandarins and 32 per cent increase in sweet orange between 1989-90 and 1992-93. Maharashtra ranked first, covering 19.6 per cent of total citrus area. Three districts in that state - Nagpur, Amravati and Wardha of Vidarbha - have over 14 million trees of citrus.

Papaya, sapota, pomegranate, ber and aonla have registered growth both in area and production in recent years. In papaya, area expansion was high in the South, whereas ber and pomegranate were successful in Western Maharashtra. India tops the world in sapota production and high productivity has been achieved in Karnataka (17.2 t/ha), followed by Maharashtra (16t/ha).

In temperate fruits, apple alone accounts for more than 50 per cent of the total production, while the North-Western Himalayan region (J&K, H.P. and hills of Uttar Pradesh) covers 95 per cent of total area and 85 per cent of the total production of all temperate fruits.

Mango, grapes and walnut are exported in large quantities and pomegranate, sapota, banana, litchi, apple and strawbernate, sapota, banana, litchi, apple and strawberry in limited quantities. Mango pulp is important among the processed fruit products exported.

Transfer of technology in horticulture is extremely important. Taking into account the fact that all the districts of the country have been brought under a computerised information network and at every district headquarters computers are now available for transfer of technoloy "expert systems" with information on recommended production technology have been developed. A computer information system giving recommended guidelines in all aspects of cultivation of 158 horticultural crops (including plantation crops, spices and tuber crops) has been developed and released recently. This system covers recommended package of practices for each crop for the southern indian states like Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

In order to make India competitive in the international trade., efforts are now directed towards developing better cultivars with desirable quality attributes. Initial varietal screening works for identifying suitable types for processing has aleady been done. Similarly, pre-harvest treatments and post-harvest handling covering pre-cooling, packing etc. have also been standardised for a good number of crops. Package lines covering all operations for bulk handling, sorting, washing, waxing, sizing and packing of fruits like mango, citrus, grapes are now available for commercirus, grapes are now available for commercial adaptation. A suitable methods of sea transportation of mango and banana have been developed and successfully ventured for export. All these marketing technologies are helping better marketting.

The emphasis on infrastructure development for marketing of perishable horticultural commodities during the last plan has started paying dividents. Fruit growing is now considered as a economically viable alternative in Indian agriculture. Horticulture is slowly moving from traditional agricultural enterprise to corporate sector. Greater adoption of technology and professionalism in management are growing.

Data base in horticulture is quite weak. Strenghening of data base in horticulture with respect to the area, production and productivity of different fruit crops is an equally important thrust area. The cost benefit analysis for commercial scale cultivation of all the main fruit crops has already been worked out and market intelligence both for domestic and international market is being systemised in more recent times.


Trends in Production :

The vegetable production of country was very paltry, less than 20 m tonnes during 1947, when India became independent. Production of vegetables till 1961-65 was about 23.45 million tonnes, which increased to 28.36 million tonnes in 1967-71 and tich increased to 28.36 million tonnes in 1967-71 and to 39.99 million tonnes in 1986. In past three decades India has made commendable progress in the field of vegetable research enabling to secure the position of second largest vegetable producer in the world only next to China. According to the latest reports (1994-95) vegetables are grown in 5.97 million ha with the production of 68.7 million tonnes. However, this amount is much less than our requirement. The expected production of vegetable crops during 1997 is approximating 80 million tonnes.

India exports considerable quantity of onion and potato and limited quantity of certain vegetables like okra, brinjal, tomato, chillies. There has been steady increase in export of onion from Rs. 53.4 million during 1974-75 to Rs. 2440 million in 1993-94. During the last 10 years, the area under onion has increased by 34%, while production increase was by 54%.

India has made tremendous increase in potato production due to release of large number of high yielding varieties and development of improved cultivation practices for different agro-climatic regions of the country. During 1995-96 potato was grown in about 1.1 million ha with a total production of about 19.2 million tonnes at an average yield of 16.9 t/ha. The crop has recorded annual compound growth rate of 5.28, 10.16 and 4.60 per cent of area, production and yield during 1969-70 to 1978-79.

Research Achievements 

Research Achievements :

A. Crop Improvement

In vegetable improvement, research focus is on accelerating productivity through exploitation of hybrid vigour and breeding for high yielding disease resistant varieties. More than 160 varieties including 29 F1 hybrids have been released in vegetable crops. The first hybrid variety in vegetable crops was developed in bottlegourd in 1971 and thereafter, a number of hybrids have been developed in tomato, brinjal, squash, mushroom, cucumber, capsicum, cabbage, cauliflower, watermelon etc. In chillies CH-1 developed by PAU, Ludhiana has 160 % heterosis for yield, whereas in muskmelon Punjab Hybrid-1 is a leading hybrid in Northern India. In brinjal, Arka Navneet, Pusa Hybrid-5 are promising and in cucumber Pusa Sanyog developed by crossing Japanese gynoecious line and Green Long Neples, is gaining popularity.

For different parts of the country large number of improved vegetable varieties have been recommended. In addition to yield increase, many of these improved varieties are resistant to different diseases and insect pests. In tomato, cold set (Pusa Sheetal), hot set (Pusa Hybrid-1) and bacterial wilt resistant varieties have enabled to grow tomato successfully in many nontraditional areas. In brinjal, Pusa Purple Long is popular all over the country, while pea var popular all over the country, while pea variety Arkel has simply revolutionised production of early pea. In watermelon, Sugar Baby in northern states and Arka Manik in southern states are ruling commercial varieties.

Some of the areas where impacts are felt have been indicated below :

a. Hybrid seed production has become easier through development of self incompatible lines in cauliflower and gynoecious lines in cucumber and muskmelon. Genetic male sterile lines are now available in tomato.
b. Identification of N-53 variety of onion and development of technology for kharif onion has enabled to get two crops of onion annually in northern India.
c. 'Pusa Early Sunthetic' cauliflower made it possible to grow cauliflower even in warmer South India. Cauliflower is now grown in non-traditional Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka States.
d. Multiple disease resistant 'Arka Manik' watermelon has saturated southern states.
e. Radish and tomato can now be grown all the year round due to availability of suitable varieties.
f. It is estimated that more than about 10,000 ha is covered by F1 hybrids of tomato and cabbage in southern states.
g. India has achieved self sufficiency in seeds of temperate vegetables and started exporting.

During the last 4 decades nearly 33 varieties in onion and 11 varieties in garlic have been developed and released. Some of the improved hybridsveloped and released. Some of the improved hybrids and varieties developed are Arka Lalima, Arka Kirtiman, Arka Pitamber, Pusa Safed, Pusa Red, Pusa Madhavi, Pusa Ratnar, Pusa White Round, Pusa White Flat, Arka Niketan, Arka Kalyan Red Round, Punjab Selection, Punjab Red Round, CO-4.

The potato improvement programmme gained sound footing with the development of disease free breeding material in the plains. Since 1958, a total of 29 high yielding varieties have been released for different agroclimatic situations in the country, Several of these varieties possess resistance to diseases like late blight and wart, and pests like cyst nematodes, and tolerance to viruses. Out of the released cultivars, however, only eleven, viz., Kufri Jyoti, Kufri Lalima, Kufri Badshah, Kufri Bahar, Kufri Chandramukhi, Kufri Sindhuri, Kufri Lauvkar, Gulmarh Special and recently released ones Kufri Ashoka, Kufri Jawahar, Kufri Megha and Kufri Swarna are being produced, respectively at Shillong (North Eastern hills) and Ootacamund (south Indian hills) to meet the local requirements. Kufri Kanchan - a wart immune and late blight resistant culture is likely to be released for Darjeeling hills where wart and late blight are limiting factors.

The high seed cost, the problems of transport and virus infiltration in seed tubers leading to degeneration of seed stocks, have led to the utilization f seed stocks, have led to the utilization of true potato seed (TPS) technology.

Research efforts in the area of biotechnology for vegetable improvement are comparatively new. Some of research highlights are:

i) Protoplasts have been isolated and purified from the leaf mesophyll tissues of capsicum and tomato using linear gradient of percoll. The protoplasts will serve as effective tools for genetic transformations.
ii) Synchronisation of cell division in cultures derived from phloem explants of carrot has been achieved by blocking the dividing cells in the G 1/S phase by aphidicolin.
iii) Anthers of capsicum cv. Arka Gaurav and tomato F1 hybrid Avinash-2 responded to culture with an embryogenic like response without an intervening callus phase.
iv) Triploid progenies from immature fruits/seeds of 4n X 2n crosses of watermelon could be salvaged through embryo culture.
v) Micropropagation of triploid watermelon through induction of multiple shoots from seedling tips has been achieved : In vitro propagation of tratraploid and diploid parental lines of watermelon to facilitate large scale production of 3n watermelon seeds is being carried out.
vi) In potato, the technique for transfer of genes through Agrobacterium strain C58-PB1121 has been standardized and production of transgenic plants has been confirmed by the GUS assay. Genetic engineering targets to introduce CP genetic engineering targets to introduce CP gene (for virus resistance) and BT gene (for insect resistance potato) have been set by the Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI), India.

B. Propagation :

Vegetable Seed Production for over 120 open pollinated high yielding varieties of different vegetable crops has stabilised well in the country. The open seed policy of the Government of India has encouraged the entry of many corporate firms in the seed business. Hybrid seed production has become easier due to development of self incompatible lines in cauliflower and gynoecious lines in crops like cucumber and musk melon. In tomato male sterile lines are used for hybrid seed production. Similarly in brinjal functional male sterility controlled by single recessive gene has been reported. The supply of breeders' seed of most of the vegetables are normally carried over by the research institutions who have developed them. The foundation and certified seeds are produced by public funded seed corporations and private seed companies. Many joint ventures for production and distribution of vegetable seeds have recently come up as a result of liberalised seed policy. Indian has achieved self sufficiency in seeds of temperate vegetables and has started exporting them.

In potato, a new technique known as 'seed plot technique' which makes use of low aphid population periods for growing disease-free seedstocon periods for growing disease-free seedstocks of potato, has brought revolution in production of potato seed tubers in north Indian plains. The Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI) of India caters to the need of total breeder-seed requirements of potato of the entire country and is producing about 2500 tonnes every year. The 'True Potato Seed' (TPS) technology has been standardised as an alternative and TPS lines are in cultivation with a yield potential of about 30 t/ha. In onion, also seed production technology has been standardised.

C. Pest -Diseases and Plant Protection :

About 50 recommendations for disease managements and 23 improved measures in vegetable pest control have been advocated for efficient management of diseases and pests of vegetable crops. Integrated pest managements (IPM) for control of diamond back moth of cabbage through use of trap crops like mustard have been demonstrated. IPM practice for control of tomato fruit borer include intercropping a tall variety of marigold as a trap crop in a row after every 14 rows of tomato. The marigold attracts Helicoverpa and large number of its natural enemies. At a few places control of fruit borer H. armigera in tomato could also be achieved by release of Trichogramma pretiosum alone @ 0.5 million/ha and in combination with Ha-NPV @ 250 LE/ha. IPM research is in under good progress in many vegetable crops inclgood progress in many vegetable crops including potato. In potato, deadly diseases like late blight, bacterial wilt and insects like aphids and nematodes could be effectively controlled through use of tolerant varieties as well as chemical control measures. Resistant breeding both in a number of vegetable crops and potato has greatly helped in overcoming disease and pest problems in these crops.

D. Integrated Production Systems :

Production technology especially water management, integrated nutrient management, weed control, population density and others have been developed in all the major vegetable crops.
  1. Pendimethalin (stomp) was found very effective in controlling weeds in all Solanaceous (tomato, brinjal, chilli, bell pepper, okra) vegetables.
  1. In tomato and brinjal drip irrigation was found very economical. For cucumber replenishing 120% of evaporation loss through irrigation resulted in maximum yield of quality fruit. Drip irrigation in water melon gives 33% more yield, with water saving of 40%.
  1. Nutrient requirement and fertilizer scheduling works have been conducted for different agro-climatic regions and cropwise recommendations have been published for different regions. In leguminous vegetables high N depresses nodulation. Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhiza (VAM) increases available P to the plants. Glomus aggrega(VAM) increases available P to the plants. Glomus aggregatum is best in promoting growth and yield of pea and beans, whereas G. fasciculatum is best for cowpea. In all leguminous vegetables a dual inoculation of VAM alongwith Rhizobium culture was found to be beneficial.
  1. Production technologies for rainy season (kharif) onion for northern India and long day type onions for high altitudes have been standardised. Usually, onion is grown in the winter season (rabi) in the northern India, while it is grown both in rabi and kharif in major onion growing states like Maharashtra (19% area),Gujarat (17%), Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The recommended doses of nutrients by different states are 100-150 kg nitrogen, 40-80 kg phosphorus and 0-125 kg potato/ha. Weeds can be effectively controlled by Tenoran @ 2.5 kg/ha when applied 3-5 weeks after transplanting. Stomp @ 3.5 litres/ha applied immediately after transplanting is also effective.
  1. In cole crops (cabbage, cauliflowers) with the introductions of heat-tolerant hybrids and development of tropical lines of hybrids, the temperature barrier has been removed. It is therefore possible now to cultivate cabbage and cauliflower in southern India. Under tropical climate with an average yield of 70 t/ha cabbage requires 370 kg N, 85 kg P, 480 kg K, 60 kg Mgo and 80 kg S/ ha. Preplanting applications of weedicides Triflkg S/ ha. Preplanting applications of weedicides Trifluralin (1 kg/ ha), Butachlor ( 2 kg/ha) were found to be effective for controlling weeds in cabbage and cauliflower fields.
  1. In potato, drip irrigation was found to be economical, giving highest productivity and saving about 50% water. Biofertilizers Azotobacter and phosphobacteria enabled the reduction of N dose by 16% and P dose by 30%.

E. Economics and Marketing :

More than 40 kinds of vegetables, belonging to different groups, namely, solanaceous, cucurbitaceous, bulb and roots, cole crops, vegetable legumes and leafy vegetables are grown in the country. India occupies first position in the production of cauliflower, second in onion and third in cabbage in the world. In a country like India, where marginal and small farmers predominate the peasantry, vegetable farming is highly economical. Technological innovations and vegetable hybrids have given tremendous boost to vegetable growers. In certain crops like tomato, throughout the year cropping has become possible due to availability of cold set and hotset varieties, and it has also become possible to establish sound tomato processing industry due to production of suitable processing varieties with high productivity. Post harvest technology in certain crops like potato, onion, tomato, peas and others have been perfected and are within easy reach of the average gperfected and are within easy reach of the average growers. Out of the vegetable crops maximum export potential remains with onion and potato, seasonal vegetables and high value crops like beans, peas, green chilli, broccoli, asparagus, mushroom, capsicum, lettuce etc., also enjoy good scope. Less pungent white/yellow varieties of onion possess good demand in European markets. Although India exports considerable quantity of onions, level of production and prices prevailing within the country cause hindrances in promoting export on large scale.

India has the potential of becoming major exporter of both ware and seed potatoes. There is a great potential of exporting processed potato also. It is estimated that presently only 0.5% of the potato production of the country is processed.

The potato productivity in India (1.80/ha/day) is better than that of Western Europe (1.56 q/ha). Certain Indian states like Gujarat and West Bengal with 2.73 q/ha/day and 2.56 q/ha/day compare well with Netherlands with average productivity of 2.51 q/ha/day. More than 80% of Indian potato is grown in the winter months when there is no potato crop in the Western temperate countries. India, therefore,is favourably placed so far potato production and marketing is concerned.

Intensive research and entry of many corporate firms in vegetable seed business has contributed to the growth of vegetable industry tremendously. Vegetable seed business is another area ly. Vegetable seed business is another area where India may do well. Study made by Agro-Economic Research Centres in selected towns and cities show that rate of consumption of fruits and vegetables in the country are on the rise. Also, in vegetables alone demand for processing and export is approximately 4 million tonnes. Without discounting post harvest loss total demand of about 130 million tonnes of vegetables has been projected for the country for the year 2002, showing ample scope of vegetable farming in the country.


Floriculture Industry : current status

India has a long tradition of floriculture. In most part of the country, flower growing is carried out on small holdings and commercial floriculture has assumed importance only in the recent past. Based on the information available, it is estimated that about 70 thousand ha is covered under flowers for cut-flower use. Another about 500 ha of climatically controlled greenhouses are reported to be available for growing quality flowers for export.

Traditional flowers like marigold, jasmine, aster, rose, chrysanthemum, crossandra etc. are grown in more than two third area under flowers, while modern day cut flowers with stems e.g. rose, carnation, gladiolus, tuberose, orchids etc. occupy rest of the area.

The domestic flower market is not well organised. A market survestic flower market is not well organised. A market survey conducted in 1988-89 indicated flower trade worth Rs. 2050 million, while a recent survery for Delhi market alone indicated a trade around Rs. 500 million. In addition to cutflower use, ornamental plants are now increasingly in demand for interior decoration and landscape use. Flower seed production and multiplication of planting materials are also in the increase. Several flower seed producing companies have set up production facilities in India for targetting domestic as well as export markets. Some of these companies took up custom production of specific varieties for their clients abroad. More than 30 commercial micropropagation units with production capacity exceeding 40 million plants have been set up. Flowers and ornamental crops are the major product range in these units. Tissue culture raised plants of carnation and gerbera already gained popularity with flower growers. Production of bulbs/tubers of crops like gladiolus, lilliums, tulips, liatrice is also picking up fast.

In the recent past a good number of export oriented floriculture units have been established in the country. By December 1996, more than 200 such units have been approved to be set up, which include 157 units with foreign collaboration and direct foreign investment. The total investment in this sector is approximately Rs. 1000 million. The flowers exported from these units are receiving consumers acrom these units are receiving consumers acceptance for high quality. A good number of such export oriented units with greenhouse production have been set up in clusters around Pune (Maharashtra State), Bangalore (Karnataka State), Delhi State and Hybderabad (Andha Pradesh State). Ornamental foliage plants of decorative value are also been exported in sizable quantity. The natural extracts of certain flowers have good demand and concretes of jasmine, tuberose and rose are produced. Dry flowers and plants trade is a comparatively new venture in India and is gaining popularity. Presently, most of the dry products are exported to Germany, USA, Netherlands, U.K., Italy and Japan. Such products constitute nearly 60 percent of Indias exports of floriculture products at present.


A. Crop Improvement :

More than 300 varieties of different ornamental crops have been developed and recommended for release. These include 57 varieties in roses, 35 in chrysanthemum, 42 in gladiolus, 150 in bougainvillea, 25 in hibiscus and 2 hybrids in orchids. In addition to these a number of varieties in annual ornamental crops have also been developed.

In more recent years, rose varieties namely Benjamin Pal, Nurjahan, Raktagandha, 'Banjaran', Sindhoor, Chrysanthemum varieties Ajay, Sonali, Swarna, Ravi Kiran, Akash, Yellow Start, Chandrakand and gladiolusAkash, Yellow Start, Chandrakand and gladiolus varieties, Kumkum, Rangoli, Darshan, Tambi and Rim Jhim were released for cultivation. Rose rootstock Rosa indica var. odorata is now widely used. In rose, most of the varieties released fall under Hybrid Tea and Floribunda groups. There is a dearth of climbing varieties.

Three chrysanthemum mutants gave higher yields. Gladiolus hybrid 77-59-32 with large spike and many florets per spike was developed for export of cut flowers. In gladiolus, new triploid hybrids have been developed and open pollinated (O.P) selections are doing well. New IARI (New Delhi) varieties of gladiolus, bougainvillea, hollyhock and coreopsis have become popular in many parts of the country. Gladiolus varieties Mayur, Suchitra and Pusa Suhagan have become popular in Northern India. The O.P. selections namely, Jwala, Gazal and Priyadarshini are also gaining popularity.

For South Indian conditions, good number of varieties of different ornamental crops have been released by the IIHR, Bangalore. Some of the important ones are :

  1. Chrysanthemum : Red Gold variety with about 290 flowers per plant with a vase life of 10 days and other varieties like Indira and Rakhee have been released.
  1. Gladiolus : Shobha, Aspara, Nazrana, Sapna, Poonam, Meera released for cultivation.
  1. ra released for cultivation.
  1. Hibiscus : Out of 21 varieties released, Chitralekha, Phulkari, Ratna, Red Satur, Shanti, Smt. Indira Gandhi, Alkta, Anuradha, Ashirwad, Bharat Sundari, Dilruba, Geetanjali, Tribal Queen are important.
  1. Bougainvillea : Six varieties named and released. Important ones are Dr. H.B. Singh, Jawaharlal Nehru, Usha, Purple Wonder.
Traditional flowers like jasmine, tuberose, marigold and others also received research attention. In jasmine breeding, high yield of flowerbuds spread throughout the year and high oil productivity were the major objectives.

Three varieties of J. auriculatum and 2 varieties of J. grandiforum have been released. A high yielding clonal selection, namely Surabhi has been released recently. In tuberose, Rajat Rekha and Swarna Rekha are gamma ray induced mutants. In marigold, F1 hybrids are highly floriferous.

B. Propagation :

Tissue culture protocols for micropropagation of large number of flowering and ornamental plants have been developed. In addition to rose, bougainvillea, chrysanthemum, gladiolus, amaryllis, petunia, orchids. Anthuriums, propagation in Ficus elastica, Monstera deliciosa, Cordyline terminalis, Begonia rex, Peperomia obtusifoha and Philodendron Pink Princess has also been reported to be successful.rincess has also been reported to be successful.

Research on various other methods of propagation has resulted high percentage of rooting in about 300 species. Also promising rootstocks in case of crop like rose have been identified. Rosa indica var. odorata performed well under Delhi condition. Seeds of annual and seasonal flowers are produced in the country by various seed companies and indegenous seed production is considerable. India exports flower seeds of Gaillardia, Zinnia, Chrysanthemum annual, Cosmos, Helichrysum, Candytuft, Mirabilis and a few other in substantial quantity. F1 Hybrid seeds of Petunia has been exported since 1967 and there is good scope to produce hybrid seeds of Antirrhinum, Geranium, Impatiens and Marigold. In hill stations of India, namely Srinagar, Darjeeling, Sikkim and Kalingpong good quality bulbs of gladiolus, and lillies are produced. In gladioli alone about 4.5 to 5 million bulbs are produced annually in Darjeeling hills and Sikkim in the eastern India.

C. Pest Diseases and Plant Protection :

Research work on diagnosis and control of viral diseases in carnation, chrysanthemum, dahlia, gladiolus, hollyhock, petunia, zinnia and others has resulted in multiplication healthy planting materials and the control of the diseases. Gladiolus has been cleaned from BYMV. In tuberose, integration of mycorrhiza (VAM) fungi like Glamus mossae and Glamus mossae and G. fasciculatum with neem cake gave effective control of root-knot nematode. Considerable research information on control of different fungal diseases are available and commercial floriculture units are following both preventive and curative chemical control measures. Work on bacterial and fungal plugging of rose stem resulting to reduction of water uptake of cut roses showed that bacteria like Pseudomonas, Enterobacter, Aeromonas Erwinia, Corynebacteria are predominant in vase water. The predominant fungal species isolated from vase water are Botrytis cineria, Fusarium oxysporum, Mucor, Penicillium and Rhizopus. Use of biocide like streptomycin sulphate in vase water was found to control bacteria in cut flowers. Fungicide like Coptan and bacteriocide like streptopenicillin showed positive response in lengthening the life of cut roses of cv. Queen Elizabeth.

D. Integrated Production System :

Nutritional requirements of all the major flowering plants have been standardised. Rose plants when pruned at 45 cm height from ground level retaining 4 healthy shoots resulted in maximum flowering. In north India best time of pruning is October-November, just before the severe winter cold. In chrysanthemum, photo-induction requirements for prolonged blooming have been worked out. The varieties could be classified into 7 response groups basd be classified into 7 response groups based on their period of blooming.

In jasmine, for maximum yield of flowers and high recovery of essential oil, a planting distance of 1.8 X 1.8 m and pruning plants at 90 cm height are essential. Also, the plants must receive 100 g N, 150 g P2O5 and 100 g K2O/plant each year. In tuberose, preplanting treatments of bulbs with GA3 increased rachis length, while in marigold spraying of cycocel on transplanted plants resulted better flowering.

Green house cultivation of flowers, particularly roses, has increased considerably in more recent years. Most of these green house units are growing roses for export with foreign technology. Major foreign collaborations are with Holland and Israel. Greenhouse production has brought in uses of drips, micro sprinklers and other advanced irrigation systems. Liquid fertilizers and newer plant protection chemicals are also being used increasingly. Indegenous technology for greenhouse production is lacking and only limited information of greenhouse cultivation of chrysanthemum, gladiolus and Sini carnation have been reported. Successful growing of roses in north India under modified environment using plastic cover during winter months (November-February) has also been reported.

E. Post Harvest Managements :

Preharvest practices and post harvest treatments for improving tices and post harvest treatments for improving longevity of different cut flowers have been largely standardised. It has been established that the post harvest behaviour of flowers is an outcome of the physiological processes occurring in the leaves, stem, the flower bud, the leafless peduncle or scape connecting the bud to the stem. Mineral nutrition, foliar feeding, irrigation and growth regulator sprays were found to influence longevity and post harvest quality of cut flowers. It has been reported that tap water improved vase life of cut roses (cv. Super Star) over distilled water. A holding solution of PH 3.0 improved post harvest life of cut roses. Addition of different kinds of sugars in holding solutions influenced vase life of rose variety Raktagandha. D-fractose at 4% gave maximum vase life, while mannose reduced the vase life of rose. In the same variety of rose a holding solution of D-fractose (1%) and boric acid (500 ppm) + Cobalt Chloride (250 ppm) was the best for opening tight but fully mature buds.

Pre-cooling flowers to optimal storage temperature is important for longer storing of flowers. In tube rose cool storage of florets, both in packed and unpacked forms, helped in maintaining freshness and white colour for longer period. Packaging of Jasminum sambac flowers in 200 gauge polyethylene bags without ventilation maintained freshness, retained white colour and helped in prolonging shelf-life by 3 days. Roped in prolonging shelf-life by 3 days. Roses could be stored dry upto a maximum period of 2 weeks at a storage temperature of 0.5 to 3o C.

For several ornamental species, dehydration techniques of fresh flowers, retaining their shape and natural colour have been standardised.

F. Economics and Marketing :

The floriculture industry in India covers trade of i) cutflowers ii) nursery and potted plants, seeds and bulbs iii) micropropagated plants and iv) essential oils from flowers for perfumes. Plant rental services for supply of house plants on annual rent basis is also available in big cities. It is estimated that annual growth rate of domestic trade of floriculture products is about 25-30 per cent. In domestic market, consumption of flowers in the southern states is much higher than in the northern region. A study conducted in south Indian (Madras) market showed that for jasmine only 31 to 36 per cent of consumers' price goes to the growers. In case of roses, however, about 50 per cent of consumers price is realised by the growers. Analysis of composition of cost price of rose show that labour, propagating material, fuel and materials cover 33, 26, 26, and 4 percent respectively.

The demand for flower extracts for perfume trade is growing. The natural concretes of jasmine, tuberose and rose are produced in large quantity. Although little innovations have come in processing proc little innovations have come in processing procedures in designing of steam distillation plants, significant changes have taken place. Out of the total global production of about 10 tonnes of jasmine concrete in 1990, India's share was approximately 2.4 tonnes. The flowers of an improved jasmine variety namely Pitchi yield 0.29 percent recovery of concrete in laboratory scale testing and 0.25 percent in commercial production. Another improved variety Arka Surabhi yields about 0.35 per cent concrete.

In rose, R. damascena (damisk rose) produce high grade concrete, whereas R. Centiflolia and R. borboniana are utilised for production of rose water and gulkand industry. The quality of concrete from new rose variety Noorjehan is claimed to be superior, which has 53 per cent rhodinol (licitronellol) against 45.7 per cent in damisk rose oil. Laboratory scale distillation apparatus with double cooling system to ensure complete condensation of vapours has been developed and patented. The floral concretes of many other flowers are expected to be available in near future. The flowers of Champaka (Michalia champaca) yield 0.06 per cent volatile oil on steam distillation and produces 0.26 per cent of concrete through solvent extraction. The concrete has phynylmethol alcohol, benzaldehyde and methyl anthrainlate as major aroma component. Floral extracts are likely to be important items for future and thly to be important items for future and this sector has considerable potential, both for domestic and export market. Dry flowers and plants are also comparatively new products of good potential. Some commercial units for production of value added products like collages and flower pictures, flower balls, cards and covers, pomanders, festive decorations sweet smelling pot-pouries etc. have been established both in eastern and southern India.


History and Present Status :

Medicinal and aromatic plants play an important role in Indian traditional medicines. The commercial scale cultivation of such plants are, however, of recent origin. Certain species like saffron, opium poppy, psyllium or isabgol (Plantago ovata Forsk ) are some of the crops which are under cultivation for many years. Opium poppy is perhaps the first exotic species brought under cultivation in the later part of sixteenth century through introduction from West Asia. It is one of the cultivated crops where the selection pressure has played a major role in developing new varieties and land races. Cinchona and ipecac were introduced in India mainly to fight menace of malaria and diarrhoea respectively, while crops like belladona, ergot, pyrethrum, henbane and fox-globe were introduced in India during second World War when there was a serious disruption in World War when there was a serious disruption in the supply of raw materials for certain vital drugs. Lemon grass, oil-bearing rose and celery were introduced both for meeting the local use and export demands.

Certain crops like mints, French jasmine, Java citronella and hops introduced in late forties to early fifties have now become successful commercial crops. They are largely used in flourishing chemical industries entering export trade. Aromatic plants like Palmarosa-oil grass, French basil, asgandh and vetiver are now well established commercially. India has done fairly well in export of psyllium husk and seed, mint oil, menthol, jasmine concrete and neam oil.

A very large number of native species available in Indian forests have been used for a long time for their medicinal properties. It is reported that over 2000 native plant species have curative properties and about 1300 species are known for their aroma and flavour. The Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM) locally known as Ayurved, Unani and Siddha drugs are of great demand in the country-side and it is estimated that such plant based drugs worth Rs.8000 million are produced annually under the ISM. There is already a spurt in demand of plant based drugs and lately many such native species of medicinal values are being brought under systematic cultivation.

Research in medicinal and aromatic crops are mainly carried out by the Indian Council of Agriinly carried out by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) of the Council of Industrial and Scientific Research (CSIR), both public funded research organisations. The ICAR through its All India Coordinated Research Project on Medicinal Plants (begun in 1972) is carrying out an integrated multidisciplinary research at 9 centres on 12 mandatory crops : psyllium, senna, opium poppy, periwinkle, liquorice, asgandh, jasmine, palmarosa, lemongrass, vetiver, geranium and patchonli. In addition, performance testing of a good number of exotic crops and domestication of certain native species are also in the research agenda of ICAR. Research on crops like Solanum viarum Rauvolfia serpentina, Dioscorea floribunda, Mentha arvensis, M. spicata, basil, lavender, henbare and others have also been conducted by various agencies. The CIMAP (CSIR) is working on the industrial utilization of medicinal and aromatic plants.

Research Achievements :

A. Plant Improvement :

In the last two decades a large number of improved varieties have been developed - 21 in medicinal plants and 27 in aromatic plants. In opium poppy breeding efforts have led to an array of new high yielding varieties in recent years. In psyllium and senna available genetic base is narrow, whereas in Rauvolfia, Periwinkle (CatharanthusRauvolfia, Periwinkle (Catharanthus) and asgandh (Wathania somnifera) wide range of variations in growth, yield and contents has been recorded in the available germplasm. In periwinckle a few selections (EC 120837, IC 49581) have been made for higher root and alkaloid yield. In asgandh, some promising selections and hybrids have been identified. A large variation in basil, cymbopogan grasses and vetiver germplasm has been recorded. Amongst native species, germplasm variability in neem (Azadiracta indica) is of great importance. Interspecific hybridization has been successful in opium-poppy, belladona, foxglove, lemon grass (using Cymbopogon Khasianum) and asgandh. Polyploidy could be successfully induced in psyllium, opium poppy, belladona, dioscorea, rauvolfia, mints and periwinckle. Not much work on resistance breeding could, however, be done. Breeding in Isabgol for resistance to mildew disease and evolving high oil yielding cultures of scented geranium and patchouli combining resistance to wilt and nematodes respectively are priority research items. Research efforts to domesticate plants like Swertia, Piper, Guggal (Commiphora wightii), Safed Musli (Chlorophytum spp.), Aloes (A.barbadenis Mill) etc. have been initiated.

B. Propagation :

Seed research in medicinal and aromatic plants is almost absent. Low seed set, poor seed viability, high dormanceed set, poor seed viability, high dormancy and low percentage of seed germination are some of the problems. Seed set is extremely poor in safed musli, seed losses viability soon in neem, seed germination is poor in swertia. Availability of quality seed of improved varieties is a constrain. Although tissue culture protocols in crops like safed musli, guggal, liquorice, patchouli and others have been reported, none of them have been commercially adopted due to poor field establishment of plantlets.

C. Integrated Production Systems :

Crop production technologies have been standardised for the important crops. Cropping systems involving vetiver, palmarosa, opium poppy, psyllium, senna and rauvolfia have been accepted as an intercrop in coconut gardens. Studies have shown that Japanese mint, steroidal yam, Java citronella, patchouli and opium poppy are high-nutrient and irrigation-responsive crops, whereas psyllium, asgandh, liquorice, rauvolfia and senna have extremely low nutrient requirements and can be grown with low irrigation. The rest of the crops fall in between these two extremes. Crops like lemon grass and asgandh are grown as rainfed crop, while limited irrigation is provided to senna, palmarosa and vetiver. Palmarosa and henbane responded well to Azotobacter cultures, when used in seed treatment and drilled in soil rows as slurry. Nitrogen fertilization could be reduced in psylliu fertilization could be reduced in psyllium fields where leguminous crops, like cowpea and clusterbeans were grown earlier. Also, intercropping of leguminous crops, improved nitrogen use efficiency in steroidal yam. Patchouli and Piper longum can be grown successfully under semi-shaddy conditions (25-50% shade) in irrigated coconut gardens.

D. Economics and Marketing :

The global market for plant based pharmaceuticals in 1994 was estimated to range between 32 to 43 billion US $. Also, there is a growing demand of herbal medicine for markets of industrially developed countries for alternatives to abstract medicines, antibiotics, steroids and hormonal drugs, which have shown rise in side effects on body functions. The essential oil market is also growing, mainly as food flavours and as fragnances. However, unlike other commercial crops, medicinal and aromatic plant based industry very often goes for searching new, more potent, safer and cheaper sources of raw materials, as a result of which there is uncertainly in the minds of growers about economic returns. Inspite of such uncertainties, quite a good number of medicinal and aromatic plants have established their value in diversification and value addition in agriculture sector of the country. It has significantly added in export of value added products in the form of intermediary phytochemicals, perfumery, food flavour, cosmetics and toiletry gry, food flavour, cosmetics and toiletry goods. Plant based drugs of antimalarial, anti-cancer, hepato-protective, anti-diabetics, sedatives etc. are in different stages of development and offer huge market opportunities. Standards of raw materials for purity, potency and quality need to be worked out and post harvest storage and processing must be standardised for better marketing of medicinal and aromatic plants.

Research Investment and Pay-off :

Horticulture research as planned activities received very little attention till the III (1965-70) Five Year Plan, although systematic research on fruits, vegetables and ornamental crops was initiated when a separate section of horticulture was created in the Division of Botany of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) during 1954. Upgradation of this section to a separate Division of Horticulture in 1959, establishment of the Indian Institute of Horticulture Research in Bangalore in 1968, starting of 8 All India Co-ordinated Research Projects (AICRP) on different horticultural crops during IV Plan (1970-75) and creation of a separate Division of Horticulture at the ICAR Hqrs. during 1985-86 are some of the important landmarks in the history of horticulture research in the country. Today 8 ICAR Institutes with 27 Regional Stations, 1 Project Directorate, 10 National Research Centres, 15 AICRPs with 215 Centres, 1 full fledged UniversiPs with 215 Centres, 1 full fledged University on Horticulture, 25 State Agricultural Universities, 7 multi-disciplinary Institutes of ICAR (IARI, New Delhi with 3 Divisions; VPKAS,Almora; NBPGR,New Delhi; CARI,Port Blair; CAZRI,Jodhpur; CWR&TI,Dehradun & the ICAR Research Complex for NEH, Barapani) are engaged in horticulture research.

The research system in the country is now fully geared to provide necessary technological support to the expanding horticulture industry of the country. Our production of fruits and vegetables had tripled over the last 50 years and with proper R&D support it should be possible to meet the needs of domestic as well as the export markets in next 5 years.

Plan expenditure on horticultural crops started in the fourth plan (1970-75) with a modest allocation of Rs. 34.78 million which was enhanced to Rs.319.56 million in the seventh plan (1975-80) and to Rs.1,047 million in the eighth plan (1992-97). The increase in investment from the seventh to eighth plan is about 213%. Rapid expansion in research infrastructure has been witnessed in the seventh and eighth plan. The R&D set up in horticulture has expanded quite rapidly through the establishment of SAUs, State Department of Horticulture, CRIs and NRCs of the ICAR, strengthening of Coordinated project system and cess fund adhoc projects. Private investment in R&D has also been experienced increasingly in the more recent past.

Currently, there are seven research programmes under operation of the Horticulture Division of the ICAR. The percentage increase in budgetary provision under each of the programme during VIII Plan over the expenditure of VII Plan is as follows :

Fruits - 373%, vegetables - 500%, Root & Tuber crops - 240%, Plantation Crops - 273%, Spices - 400%, Floriculture, Medicinal & Aromatic Plants - 406%, Post-Harvest Technology - 400%.

The research budgets of 12 Institutes of the Horticulture Division of the ICAR for the year 1995 have been shown in Table.1. It may be seen that out of the total annual budget of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research 8.70 per cent was spent for implementation of horticulture research programme. The ratio of scientific, technical and administrative manpower works out approximately as 1:1.23:0.70, meaning thereby that the research scientists get reasonably good support from technical and administrative staff. Out of the 12 institutions, only 4 of them received external funding, ranging from 7.98 to 13.0 percent of their internal research budget.

The research output per scientist in terms of research publications has been shown in Table.2. Although the old and established institutes (CPRI, Shimla; IIHR, Bangalore) have more number of research publications, per scientist basis output is much better in smaller and new institutes (NRC for Mushroom, Sller and new institutes (NRC for Mushroom, Solan; IISR, Calicut; PDVR, Varanasi). The mandate crops of IISR, Calicut are spice crops, (both perennial and seasonal) whereas the PDVR, Varanasi deals with seasonal vegetable crops. Institutes dealing with perennial fruit crops like CISH, Lucknow (mango) and NRC for Arid Horticulture (arid fruits) have got much less share of research publications to their credit, while new (2yrs old) institute like NRC for Medicinal & Aromatic Plants could not open their account so far.

Commoditywise, vegetable crops enjoy maximum scientific manpower and budgetary support (Table.3). Vegetable Crops being mostly seasonal, research achievements and the transfer of technology are much faster in comparison to the perennial tree crops. As indicated earlier, in the last 3 decades India made quantum jump in vegetable production from 28.36 million in 1967-71 to 68.7 millions in 1994-95. The technology generated in the vegetable crops have gone to a large extent to the farmers resulting to such spectacular increase in production.

Pay offs from the public sector expenditure in agricultural research in India is considered to be quite high, although public sector investment in agriculture research had all along been very average, if not low. Horticulture research is no exception and investment in horticulture research has paid good dividents. The fall in capital spending and decline in advance training of reding and decline in advance training of researchers will hamper the efficiency of the research system greatly. Modernisation and diversification needs of Indian horticulture should essentially be addressed by the Indian NARS. Private Sector partnership will be essential for diversification, value addition and exports to make horticulture more profitable in the coming years. Private Sector investment in terms of contract research, collaborative research, consultancy and other forms may be needed for establishing demand driven relationships with organised commercial sectors. Public funded research system will, however, have to continue to provide quality research inputs to the large, unorganised, small holder farm sectors to improve the productivity and quality of horticultural commodities in years to come.


Overall development of horticulture in the country would require substantial improvement in the productivity and quality of the produce and reduction of post harvest loss of perishable commodity through better handling and organised marketing. Since the scope for expansion of area is limited, further growth of horticulture industry and its sustainability will largely depend on the new and emerging technologies. Strong support of basic and strategic research in conjunction with conventional technologies will only enable rapid growth. For enlarging the scope of basic and strategic reseging the scope of basic and strategic research establishment of programme based linkages and partnerships with other sister research organisations and Private Sector is unavoidable. Private participation for value addition, processing, micropropagation, greenhouse floriculture, hybrid seed production, post harvest managements of fruits & vegetables and similar other areas should be possible. Commodity and discipline dominated research programmes need to be reoriented to resource/system based research for which strong linkage with state level institutions, SAUs in particular is essential. Taking the advantage of varied agro-ecological regimes, the counterseasonal advantages must be exploited fully, for which generation of location specific technology is a must. Networking research arrangements covering mainly the ICAR institutes and SAUs with mission mode approach should pay better dividends. Human Resource development in the areas like horticulture crop biotechnology, IPM, IPNM, biofertilisers, biopesticides, micro-irrigation and fertigation, green house technolgy, pesticide residue, PHT, product development and byproduct utilization needs priority attention for successful implementation of research programmes in emerging areas. Also manpower development activities need to be supported for creating professional cadre for implementing and monitoring horticulture developmental programmes of different state governments. The research systemstate governments. The research system should also provide necessary training support to entrepreneurs for enhancement of skills for various agri-business activities.

Keeping the above strategy in view, the following thrust areas of research identified for the 9th Plan Period (1997-2002).

  1. Development of improved varieties/hybrids of fruits, vegetables, plantation crops, medicinal and aromatic plants with high production potential, biotic and abiotic resistance and suitable for export. Emphasis will also be on indegenous minor fruits and seed spices.
  1. Development of appropriate horticultural based cropping systems for different agroclimatic areas. Production technology, for matching export requirements and diversified use.
  1. Research on efficient water management including micro-irrigation and fertigation.
  1. Post-harvest technology including value-addition and product diversification of important fruits and vegetables.
  1. Protected cultivation for export-oriented vegetables and flowers.
  1. Developing rapid tools, biotechniques and technologies for genetic manipulations for introducing desirable traits of yield, quality and stress tolerance. Micropropagation of important horticultural crops for mass multiplication of quality planting materials.
  1. Advancor mass multiplication of quality planting materials.
  1. Advanced research on national disease problem such as mango malformation, guava wilt, citrus decline, spongy tissue in mango, root wilt in coconut, Phytophthora diseases of different horticultural crops.
  1. Floriculture research for quality production of cut-flowers, post-production handling and transportation of floricultural products.
  1. Integrated management of nutrients, diseases and pests of important horticultural crops to reduce input costs, environmental pollution and to avoid pesticide-residue problems.

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