Record horticulture crops output likely this year

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on June 05, 2014 Published on June 05, 2014



Production seen rising to 281 million tonnes; area under onion at new high

A record production of horticulture crops is projected for the current season that ends this month, thanks to the area under the crops rising to a new high.

This has helped control the prices of some of the major fruit and vegetable crops, particularly onion, tomato and potato.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, horticulture crops were planted on 25.30 million hectares, a new high this season, against 23.69 million hectares a year ago.

Production, going by the second estimates, is likely to rise to 280.70 million tonnes (mt) against 268.84 mt. The output of key horticulture crops such as banana, onion, tomato and potato was higher.

According to the Office of the Economic Advisor in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the wholesale price index of fruits and vegetables rose to a high of 330.3 in November last year due to shortfall in supplies of onion, potato, tomato and chilli. Following improvement in supplies, the index eased to 225.1 in April.

Potato makes up about 16.5 per cent of the total horticulture production in the country, with its output estimated at 46.39 mt this season against 45.34 mt. Shortage of potatoes in November-December resulted in prices surging to ₹30 a kg in retail outlets as unseasonal rains affected the crop. The wholesale price index of potato surged to 317.9 in November but eased to 227.2 in April. Production of banana, which makes about 10 per cent of horticultural crops production in the country, is projected at 27.57 mt against 26.50 mt a year ago.

Banana prices have been ruling almost steady over the last few months with the index rising to 266.9 in November.

It eased marginally to 263.7 in April. But for unseasonal rains, onion production could have topped the magical 20 mt-mark. Onion output is estimated at a record 19.29 mt against 16.8 mt a year ago. Last year, onion production dropped from 17.5 mt a year ago.

The area under onion was at a new high of 1.2 million hectares this year (1.05 million hectares) as the vegetable’s prices topped ₹100 a kg in retail outlets in August and November.

A look at the price index shows that prices have dropped over 70 per cent in September when it peaked to 845.6 and dipped to 240.4 in April.

Production of tomato, which has dropped below onion for the first time this year, is seen at 19.10 mt against 18.22 mt a year ago. Its prices, too, had surged in November, with the index soaring to 503.5 in November. By March, it had plunged to 169.2.

Output of flowers and crops such as coconut and arecanut increased, while that of cocoa and cashewnut dropped.

Led by dried chilli, cardamom and turmeric, production of spices increased to 5.8 mt (5.7 mt a year ago), but there was cause for concern with the output of pepper, garlic and coriander dropping.

The index of pepper surged to a new high of 661.9 in April and its prices in retail outlets are currently ruling between ₹800 and ₹1,000 a kg.

Similarly, production of brinjal also increased to 13.88 mt against 13.44 mt.

Published on June 05, 2014
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