Uttar Pradesh has reclaimed its position as the top producing State in vegetables relegating West Bengal to the second position after two years, but this time the difference between the two is more than a million tonnes. On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh remains the top fruit producer.

According to data placed in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, vegetables production in Uttar Pradesh is estimated to be 29.58 million tonnes (mt) in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) against 29.16 mt in the previous year, while West Bengal output is seen to drop to 28.23 mt from 30.33 mt. When Uttar Pradesh was ahead of West Bengal in vegetables production in 2018-19, the gap between the two was around 0.7 mt.

Other top producers of vegetables in the current year include Madhya Pradesh at 2.59 mt, Bihar at 17.77 mt and Maharashtra at 16.78 mt, data show.

Andhra Pradesh is likely to see 18.01 mt of fruits production in 2021-22 against 17.7 mt last year, while Maharashtra may produce 12.3 mt, up from 11.74 mt last year. Other top producers of fruits are Uttar Pradesh at 11.26 mt, Karnataka at 8.55 mt and Gujarat at 8.24 mt. Incidentally, Gujarat production has remained unchanged from last year.

MIDH scheme

Meanwhile, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said separate targets for the production of fruits and vegetables are not assigned to the States. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare has been implementing a Centrally sponsored scheme—Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH)— from 2014-15 for holistic growth of the horticulture sector covering fruits, vegetables, root and tuber crops, mushroom, spices, flowers, aromatic plants, coconut, cashew and cocoa. Production of fruits and vegetables are supported under the Area Expansion component of the MIDH scheme, which is implemented through State Horticulture Missions (SHMs), he added.

Apples in warm regions

Tomar also said the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has taken a number of steps to promote the production of apples in warm areas. The Srinagar-based Central Institute of Temperate Horticulture (CITH) has identified the low-chill apple varieties like Anna, Dorsett Golden, Mayan and Michael for this purpose and has been multiplying these varieties. Planting material of low-chill varieties was supplied to Jammu region this year, he said.

The minister also said CITH has conducted DUS testing for the protection of low-chill apple cultivar HRM-99, which is being promoted on large scale by the farmers in Karnataka, Punjab and Haryana.

The country’s horticulture output is likely to drop marginally by 0.4 per cent to 333.25mt in 2021-22 from the previous year as production of vegetables, spices, and plantation crops are set to decline. However, among the key essential items, while potato and tomato production may drop, that of onion is pegged higher.