India is the fruit and vegetable basket of the world. India being a home of wide variety of fruits and vegetables holds a unique position in production figures among other countries. Over 90% of India's exports in fresh products goes to west Asia and East European markets. However, it needs to augment its food and processing industry at a mega scale, according to an agriculture consultant.
Department of Agriculture and Cooperation under the Ministry of Agriculture is the nodal organisation responsible for development of the agriculture sector.
Ministry of Food Processing Industry is the main central agency of the Government responsible for developing a strong and vibrant food processing sector. It has been set up with a view to create increased job opportunities in rural areas, enable the farmers to reap benefit from modern technology, create surplus for exports and stimulate demand for processed food.
In order to remove some of the major constraints affecting the fruit and vegetable processing industries and to provide the necessary impetus to its growth, Ministry of Food Processing Industries have several plan scheme in the fruits and vegetable processing sector. These include schemes for training of entrepreneurs, creation of infrastructural facilities for fruits and vegetables processing including mushroom processing, Hops and industrial estates, setting up/expansion/upgradation of F&VP units and development of backward linkages through contract farming, market promotion through advertisement, promotion of FPO symbol and marketing of small manufacturers' products under common brand name, setting up of Quality Control Labs and Research & Development in identifying new techniques and practices including those for packaging.
Among various States, Maharashtra ranks first and contributes 27% in area and 21.5% in production. Andhra Pradesh ranks second in area and production contributing 13% and 16% of fruits. The maximum productivity was observed in Madhya Pradesh (22.6 mt/hectare), followed by Tamil Nadu (19.9 mt/hectare), Gujarat (15.9 mt/ hectare), Karnataka (15.9 mt/hectare), and West Bengal (12.8 mt/hectare). The growth in productivity was maximum (5%) in Kerala from 1991–92 to 2001–02 while it was 10.2% in Uttar Pradesh from 2001–02 to 2004–05.