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3. Fruits and Vegetables Sector
The immense diversity in agro-climatic conditions across the different regions enables India to produce a large variety of fruits and vegetables that are generally grown under sub-tropical and temperate climatic conditions.
The value of fruits and vegetables production in 1992/93 was of the order of Rs. 20.94 crores accounting for 12.3 per cent of the value of output of all crops. India produced nearly 32 million tonne of fruits in 1993 which accounted for 8.6 per cent in world production of fruits. The production of vegetables in 1993 is estimated at 71 million tonnes which formed 15 per cent of world production. The total area under vegetables cultivation is 6.2miikllion hectares which is about 3 per cent of the total area under cultivation.
The major fruits grown are banana, mango, citrus, guava, grapes, apple and pineapple which constituted nearly 80 per cent of the total fruit production in the country. Banana has the largest share of 31.7 per cent in total fruit production, followed by mango with 28 per cent.
Production of mango has remained almost stagnant during the decade 1983-93. However, a few other fruits had registered very high rates of growth I production. The annual growth in production during 1983-93 was 9.6 per cent in the case of banana, 10.3 per cent for papaya, 9.4 per cent for grapes and 4.7 per cent in respect of citrus fruits.
The major fruit producing states are Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Gujarat. These eight states account for 70 per cent of the area under fruit cultivation and 78 per cent of the total fruit production. The yield levels of most of the fruits are, however, relatively low as compared to those in other major fruit producing countries.
There exists considerable scope for improving yields and hence production levels of almost all fruits.
Although India is a very large producer of fruits, the per capita production is only about 100 gm per person per day. Further, about 25 to 30 per cent of the total production is lost due to spoilage at various post-harvest stages.
In value terms, the post harvest wastage and losses per year are estimated at over Rs. 3000 crores. Because of these losses, the per capita availability of fruits is only of the order of 75 gm per person per day, which is just half of the requirements of a balanced diet.
Out of the total production of fruits and vegetables, nearly 76 per cent is consumed in fresh form, while wastage, and posses account for 20 to 22 per cent. Only 2 per cent of vegetable production and 4 per cent of fruit production are being processed. This is in sharp contrast to the extent of processing of fruits in several other developing countries such as Brazil (70 per cent), Malaysia (83 per cent), Philippines (78 per cent) and Thailand (30 per cent).