India's diverse climate ensures the availability of all varieties of fresh fruits & vegetables. It ranks second in fruits and vegetable production in the world, after China. As per National Horticulture Database (Second Advance Estimates) published by National Horticulture Board, during 2020-21, India produced 102.48 million metric tonnes of fruits and 200.45 million metric tonnes of vegetables. The area under cultivation of fruits stood at 9.6 million hectares while vegetables were cultivated at 10.86 million hectares.
According to FAO (2020), India is the largest producer of ginger and okra among vegetables and ranks second in the production of Potatoes, Onions, Cauliflowers, Brinjal, Cabbages, etc. Amongst fruits, the country ranks first in the production of Bananas (26.29%), Papayas (43.26%) and Mangoes (including mangosteens and guavas) (45.14%).
The vast production base offers India tremendous opportunities for export. During 2021-22, India exported fresh fruits and vegetables worth Rs. 11,412.50 crores/ 1,527.60 USD Millions which comprised fruits worth Rs. 5593 crores/ 750.7 USD Millions and vegetables worth Rs. 5745.54 crores/ 767.01 USD Millions. The processed fruits and vegetables including of pulses exported to be Rs. 12,858.66 crores/ USD 1,724.88 million which comprised of processed vegetables including of pulses Rs.8308.04 Crose/ USD 1114.19 million and processed fruits and juices Rs.4550.62 crores/ USD 610.69 million in 2021-22.
Grapes, Pomegranates, Mangoes, Bananas, and Oranges account for the larger portion of fruits exported from the country while Onions, Mixed Vegetables, Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Green Chilly contribute largely to the vegetable export basket.
Major destinations for the Indian fresh fruits and vegetables are Bangladesh, UAE, Nepal, Netherland, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, the UK, Oman and Qatar.
Major destinations for the Indian processed fruits and vegetables are USA, UAE, China, Netherland, UK and Saudi Arab. Though India's share in the global market is still nearly 1% only, there is increasing acceptance of horticulture produce from the country. This has occurred due to concurrent developments in the areas of state-of-the-art cold chain infrastructure and quality assurance measures. Apart from large investments pumped in by the private sector, the public sector has also taken the initiative with APEDA for setting up several Centers for Perishable Cargoes and integrated post-harvest handling facilities in the country. Capacity-building initiatives at the farmers, processors and exporters levels have also contributed towards this effort.