Throwing more light on the aspect, Mr. Sachin Sachdeva, Associate Head & AVP – Corporate Ratings, ICRA says, “Increasing population awareness to consume more vegetables to meet diverse dietary requirements and nutritional needs, has raised the demand for vegetables significantly. India would require around 35% increase in production of vegetables over the next five years. However, given the constraints on increasing the area under cultivation, the growth would come through productivity augmentation of which a major part has to be driven by greater adoption of hybrid seeds in cultivation of vegetable crops. ICRA estimates that with the growth in volumes as well as value (on the back of hybridisation), the size of the vegetable seeds industry would double from the current levels to around Rs. 8,000 crore in the next five years - registering a CAGR of around 10%.”
Over the last two & half decades, vegetable crops produce in India has nearly trebled, increasing to estimated 181 mn tonne in FY2018 from 59 million tonne in FY1992. This growth is contributed both by increase in the area under cultivation and improvement in yields. The Governments at the Centre as well as the state level have taken various initiatives to boost the production of vegetable crops. However, despite a steady improvement, the yield of most of the vegetable crops in the country lags other countries and is even below world average.
As against general nutrition guidelines recommending average per capita consumption of 110 kg of vegetable per annum, the production in the country is adequate at per-capita level of around 140 kg per annum. However, still there is a relative shortfall of vegetables in meeting the required nutritional need of the population due to mismanagement at various levels. Because of the inherent perishable nature of the produce, around 30% of vegetables perish during harvesting, storage, grading, transportation, packaging and distribution.
Mr. Sachdeva concludes: “the key to improve adoption of hybrid seeds in production of vegetable lies in ensuring the availability of quality seeds, bridging the awareness gap in farmers regarding better techniques, and developing supportive infrastructure facilities. New location-specific high yielding hybrid varieties should be developed given the diverse agro-climatic conditions in the country. Investment in hybrid seeds research and development is a key element and should be stepped up.”