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A Nationwide Horticulture Boost in India

Context:

The cultivation of litchi, traditionally confined to Muzaffarpur, Bihar, has experienced substantial growth, extending to 19 Indian states. This notable expansion is attributed to the initiatives of the National Research Centre on Litchi (NRCL) based in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, showcasing a positive trend in horticulture across the country.

Relevance:

GS III: Agriculture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Facts about Litchi
  2. Horticulture

Key Facts about Litchi

  • Botanical Background:
    • Litchi belongs to the Sapindaceae family, recognized for its delectable and juicy translucent aril or edible flesh.
  • Climate and Growing Conditions:
    • Thrives in sub-tropical climates and prefers moist conditions.
    • Flourishes in regions with low elevation, up to approximately 800 meters.
  • Ideal Soil and Sensitivity to Temperature:
    • Optimal soil for cultivation is deep, well-drained loamy soil enriched with organic matter.
    • Sensitive to extreme temperatures, with intolerance to temperatures above 40.5 degrees Celsius in summer or freezing temperatures in winter.
  • Impact of Rain on Cultivation:
    • Prolonged rain, particularly during flowering, can disrupt pollination and adversely affect the crop.
  • Traditional Cultivation Regions in India:
    • Historically cultivated in the northern Himalayan foothills, from Tripura to Jammu & Kashmir, and plains of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
  • Expansion of Cultivation in India:
    • Due to increased demand and viability, cultivation has expanded to states such as Bihar, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh.
  • Leading States in Litchi Production:
    • Bihar accounts for nearly 40% of India’s litchi production, followed by West Bengal (12%) and Jharkhand (10%).
  • Global Production and Rankings:
    • India ranks as the second-largest global producer of litchi, following China.
    • Other significant litchi-producing countries include Thailand, Australia, South Africa, Madagascar, and the United States.

Horticulture:

  • Horticulture involves the science, art, and practice of cultivating fruits, vegetables, flowers, ornamental plants, and various crops.
  • Encompassing a wide range of activities, it includes plant cultivation, management, propagation, and enhancement for human use and enjoyment.
Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH):
  • MIDH is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme designed for the comprehensive advancement of the horticulture sector, covering fruits, vegetables, and related areas.
  • Government of India contributes 60% of the total outlay for developmental programs in states (except North Eastern and Himalayan states where GOI contributes 90%), while State governments contribute 40%.
Horticulture Cluster Development Programme:
  • A central sector initiative focused on the growth and development of identified horticulture clusters to enhance their global competitiveness.
  • A horticulture cluster refers to a regional/geographical concentration of targeted horticulture crops.

-Source: The Hindu


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