Understand the Meaning of Horticulture, Types and its Advantages

Updated on 19th April, 2024, By Neesha Rathod
Understand the Meaning of Horticulture, Types and its Advantages
Horticulture is considered the science and art of growing plants that people generally use for medicinal, food and aesthetic purposes. Examples of horticulture crops are spices, fruits and vegetables, and aromatic and medicinal plants. This article is going to discuss the importance of horticulture in India, horticulture crops, its advantages, challenges and government support to promote horticulture.

Table of Contents

What is Horticulture?

Horticulture is the branch of agriculture that deals with the production of crops, including fruits, vegetables, and even ornamental plants. It involves the use of modern farming methods to produce higher quantities of flowers, vegetable, fruits and other horticulture crops. Horticulture has several types as crops are cultivated for a variety of purposes. Fruit and vegetable farming is an important practice of horticulture in India as they provide nutritious food to the people.

Importance of Horticulture in India

Horticulture has a significant role in the overall economy. As per the Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, horticulture has a 33% contribution to the agriculture Gross Value Added (GVA). This is why there has been an increase in horticulture production over the last decade. India produced 334.60 million tonnes of horticulture crops during 2020-21.

You will be amazed that it exceeded the total food production. In fact, India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables globally. The total horticulture production came from 27.74 million hectares of land. Interestingly, horticulture used less land than the total area used for growing food grains. Between 2004-05 and 2021-22, there was a 38.5% increase in the productivity of horticulture crops.

India is among the top producers of a variety of fruits like pomegranate, sapota, papaya, guava, banana and mango. India dominates the global market in the production of cashewnut, coconut and spices. Farmers have even started commercial farming of new crops like oil palm, date palm, kinnow, gherkins and kiwi.

M.H. Marigowda is referred to as the father of horticulture in India.  Horticulture products are in high demand as the income and health awareness among the Indian population is increasing. Also, there is a huge export potential for horticultural produce.

Types of Horticulture

Horticulture involves the cultivation of a diverse variety of crops. Below are the types of horticulture based on the types of crops grown:

Fruit Crops

Indian farmers produce a wide variety of fruit crops, including bananas, mango, grapes, litchi, papaya and apples. Also, India's share of global fruit production was 10.9% in 2020. The most important fruit grown across the country is mango, which accounts for a major share of the area under total fruit production. Fruits are mainly grown in states like Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar and Karnataka.

Vegetable Crops

Due to diverse climatic conditions and topography, various vegetable crops are cultivated in India. India leads the global production of okra and ginger. Other important vegetables are cabbage, brinjal, cauliflower, onion and potato. During 2022-23, the total export of vegetables was worth around Rs. 6,966 crores. The top states involved in vegetable production are Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal.


Spices are grown in huge quantities across the country. As a matter of fact, India produces the largest amount of spices in the world. In 2022-23, the total production of spices was 11.14 million tonnes. The International Organization for Standardization has a list of 109 spice varieties, out of which India produces some 75 varieties. Examples include chilli, ginger, black pepper, coriander and turmeric. The leading states in spice production are Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Flower Crops

India has different agro-climatic zones that facilitate the production of floriculture products. During 2023-24, floriculture production was being carried out in 285 thousand hectares of land. Also, the total production stood at 3194 thousand MT. The important flower varieties grown in India include carnations, anthurium, marigolds, rose and tuberose. Also, commercial floriculture is prominent in West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Medical and Aromatic Crops

Several species of medicinal and aromatic plants are grown nationwide. There is a huge demand for these crops both domestically and globally. The final estimate for FY 2022-23 revealed the total production of medical and aromatic plants to be 6,80,000 MT across 6,71,000 hectares of land.

Medicinal plants can treat or provide relief in some health conditions. Aromatic plants are found to be useful in the cosmetic industry, as well as in culinary and therapeutic purposes. Examples of popular aromatic plants grown in India include patchouli, davana and mint, while the medicinal plants are noted to be ashwagandha, coleus, Periwinkle and Isabgol.

Plantation Crops

India is among the leading producers of several plantation crops globally, including rubber, coconut, areca nut, cashew and tea. These are high-value commercial crops that not only improve the earnings of farmers but also contribute to the Indian economy. Plantation crops are extensively grown in Assam, Goa, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Advantages of Horticulture

  • Nutrition: Our bodies demand good nutrition. Fruits and vegetables provide key vitamins, minerals and fibres to form a balanced diet. If we encourage horticultural practices, it can help resolve the issue of malnutrition. Also, it makes sure you consume a healthy diet.
  • High Income: Usually, horticulture involves the cultivation of commercial crops that attract high prices in the market. You can earn higher profits through horticulture.
  • Quick Returns: Crops like vegetables are short-duration crops as they are ready for harvest in less time. Also, they do not require large pieces of land. If you cultivate these crops, you can get quick returns as they are ready to sell within a few weeks or months.
  • Export Potential: Good quality horticulture crops like fruits and vegetables have high demand in international markets. It not only increases foreign exchange earnings for India but also allows you to demand good prices for your produce.
  • Medicinal Value: Plants that are used for medicine are important for both traditional and modern healthcare. Medicinal plants give us lots of natural remedies.

Challenges of Horticulture in India

  • Horticulture is capital-intensive, which means small and marginal farmers may not be able to afford the investment required to set up and operate this farming practice.
  • There is a huge risk of wastage as fruits and vegetables perish quickly if not kept in cold storage. The lack of suitable warehousing facilities, cold storage and logistics makes transporting and storing crops challenging.
  • Horticulture crops need efficient irrigation as dry spells and excessive water can easily damage them. Many Indian farmers face the issue of the absence of proper irrigation facilities.
  • Horticulture crops are at risk of low productivity due to poor seed quality and damage due to pests and diseases.

Government Support for Promoting Horticulture

The Indian government has come up with many schemes and programs to promote horticulture. In 1984, the National Horticulture Board (NHB) was established to advance integrated development in horticulture. NHB facilitated the setting up of high-quality horticultural farms and post-harvest management infrastructure.

In 2014, the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) was launched to boost the horticulture sector holistically. MIDH offers a variety of subsidy programs for horticulture activities:

  • Vegetable seed production gets a subsidy of 35% for general areas. This assistance is 50% for Andaman and Nicobar Islands, North East (NE), Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) and Lakshadweep.
  • For spices, the assistance is 40% for the general area and 50% for the NE and TSP areas.
  • You can get a 40% subsidy for the cultivation of aromatic plants if you belong to the general area.

Horticulture greatly impacts our lives as we depend on fruits and vegetables for nutrition and food security. You can engage in cultivating horticulture crops by using the financial assistance provided by the government to ensure higher earnings and a secured future.

Frequently Asked Questions on Understand the Meaning of Horticulture, Types and its Advantages

1. What are the types of horticulture?

The types of horticulture include fruit crops, vegetable crops, flower crops, spices, plantation crops, and medicinal and aromatic crops.

M.H. Marigowda is the father of horticulture.

The benefits of horticulture include good nutrition, job creation, high income, quick returns, export potential and medicinal value.

Neesha Rathod
Published By
Neesha Rathod
Neesha holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and a postgraduate degree in Rural Management. With over 10 years of experience in agriculture and the rural sector, she is a quick problem solver. She is inquisitive and has a deep analytics insight into any issues related to agriculture. She loves to travel and explore new places.
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