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The Central government has introduced the CDP-SURAKSHA platform to disburse subsidies to horticulture farmers under the Cluster Development Programme (CDP). This initiative aims to enhance the growth of India’s horticulture sector, which accounts for nearly one-third of the agriculture gross value addition (GVA).


GS II: Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. CDP-SURAKSHA Overview
  2. How CDP-SURAKSHA Works
  3. Horticulture Sector in India: Current Status
  4. Challenges Faced by the Horticulture Sector in India


CDP-SURAKSHA is a comprehensive platform designed to streamline the process of disbursing subsidies to farmers and ensuring the effective allocation of resources. The acronym SURAKSHA stands for “System for Unified Resource Allocation, Knowledge, and Secure Horticulture Assistance.”

Key Features:
  • e-RUPI Voucher Integration:
    • Allows for instant disbursal of subsidies directly to farmers’ bank accounts.
  • Database Integration:
    • Integrated with PM-KISAN for seamless data management.
  • Cloud-Based Infrastructure:
    • Utilizes server space from the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to ensure data security and accessibility.
  • Validation and Identification:
    • Incorporates UIDAI validation for secure and authenticated access.
  • Additional Features:
    • Local Government Directory (LGD) integration
    • Content Management System (CMS) for efficient content handling
    • Geotagging and geo-fencing capabilities for precise location tracking


User Access:

  • Farmers, vendors, implementing agencies (IA), cluster development agencies (CDAs), and National Horticulture Board (NHB) officials can access the platform.

Farmer’s Process:

  • Farmers log in using their mobile number, place an order, and contribute their share of the planting material cost.
  • Upon payment, an e-RUPI voucher is generated.

Vendor’s Role:

  • The vendor receives the e-RUPI voucher and supplies the required planting material to the farmer.
  • Post-delivery, farmers verify the receipt through geo-tagged photos and videos of their field.

Payment and Subsidy Release:

  • Once the delivery is verified, the implementing agencies (IA) process the payment to the vendor against the e-RUPI voucher.
  • Vendors upload the invoice on the portal for verification.
  • The IA then collects and shares all necessary documents with the CDA for subsidy release.

Horticulture Sector in India: An Overview

Production and Contribution:

  • India is the second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables globally.
  • Fruits and vegetables constitute approximately 90% of the total horticulture production in India.
  • The horticulture sector contributes around 33% to the agriculture Gross Value Added (GVA), marking a substantial contribution to the Indian economy.

Production and Productivity:

  • India currently produces about 320.48 million tons of horticulture produce, surpassing food grain production, even with a much smaller cultivation area (25.66 million Ha for horticulture compared to 127.6 M. ha for food grains).
  • The productivity of horticulture crops stands at 12.49 tonnes/ha, significantly higher than that of food grains at 2.23 tonnes/ha.
  • According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), India leads in the production of specific vegetables like ginger and okra, and fruits including banana, mangoes, and papaya.

Exports and Market Share:

  • India ranks 14th in vegetable exports and 23rd in fruit exports globally, with its share in the global horticultural market at just 1%.
  • Major export destinations include Bangladesh, UAE, Nepal, Netherlands, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, the UK, Oman, and Qatar.


  • Wastage: Approximately 15-20% of fruits and vegetables in India are wasted along the supply chain or at the consumer level, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

Cluster Development Program (CDP):


  • The CDP is a central sector program aimed at developing identified horticulture clusters to enhance their global competitiveness.


  • National Horticulture Board (NHB) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare is responsible for its implementation.
  • The program will be initiated in 12 horticulture clusters as a pilot phase, out of a total of 55 clusters selected for the program.
  • These clusters will be managed through Cluster Development Agencies (CDAs) appointed based on the recommendations of the respective State/UT Government.
Key Goals:
  • Address major issues related to the Indian horticulture sector, including pre-production, production, post-harvest management, logistics, marketing, and branding.
  • Aim to increase exports of targeted crops by about 20% and develop cluster-specific brands to enhance the competitiveness of cluster crops.
  • Leverage geographical specialization and promote integrated and market-led development of horticulture clusters.
  • Converge with other government initiatives such as the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund.

Challenges Faced by the Horticulture Sector in India

Agricultural and Operational Challenges:
  • Small Operational Landholdings: The majority of Indian farmers have small operational landholdings, which limits the scale and efficiency of production.
  • Lack of Irrigation Facilities: Inadequate irrigation facilities lead to dependency on monsoons, affecting crop yield and productivity.
  • Poor Soil Management: Inadequate soil testing and poor soil management practices affect the fertility and health of the soil, leading to reduced crop yields.
  • Threat of Pests: Pest attacks can severely damage horticulture crops, leading to significant losses for farmers.
Financial and Investment Challenges:
  • Limited Outreach of Farm Insurance: Many farmers do not have access to farm insurance, leaving them vulnerable to losses due to crop failures or natural disasters.
  • Lack of Farm Mechanisation: Limited use of modern farm machinery and technology results in lower productivity and higher production costs.
  • Lack of Access to Institutional Credit: Small and marginal farmers often face difficulties in accessing institutional credit, which hampers investment in the sector.
Climate Change and Environmental Challenges:
  • Changing Weather Patterns: Climate change has led to unpredictable and extreme weather conditions, affecting crop cultivation and productivity.
  • Droughts and Floods: Irregular rainfall patterns and increasing instances of droughts and floods can lead to crop failures and significant economic losses.
Institutional and Organisational Challenges:
  • Weak Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs): Inefficient FPOs limit farmers’ ability to leverage collective strength and benefit from economies of scale.
  • Perishable Nature of Produce: Fruits and vegetables being perishable in nature require efficient and timely harvesting, storage, and transportation facilities to prevent post-harvest losses.
Logistical and Supply Chain Challenges:
  • Poor Logistics: Inefficient transportation and distribution systems lead to delays and losses in the supply chain.
  • Lack of Equitable Cold Storage and Warehousing Facilities: Inadequate cold storage and warehousing facilities result in significant post-harvest losses.
Information and Guidance Challenges:
  • Lack of Guidance on Crop Selection: Farmers often lack proper guidance and information on suitable crops to plant, leading to overproduction of certain commodities and shortages of others.

-Source: The Hindu

May 2024