Horticulture in India: Introduction, Branches and Production Technology!
- Essay on the Introduction to Horticulture
- Essay on the Definition of Horticulture
- Essay on the Branches of Horticulture
- Essay on Horticultural Activities
- Essay on the Production Technology of Horticulture
- Essay on the Relationship of Horticulture With Industries, Society and Plant Science
Essay # 1. Introduction to Horticulture:
This is a common question that confronts both students and workers in plant agriculture. Indeed, it is important to be able to distinguish between the two main divisions of crop production, horticulture and agronomy, in order to acquire better theoretical understanding and skills in either specialized field. The proper delineation of the two divisions will likewise facilitate efforts on research and development directed on certain group of plants.
However, it is quite impossible to give an exact definition of horticulture. Neither is it easy to enumerate its scope with definiteness. Nonetheless, substantial enlightenment on the concept, scope, and definition of horticulture can be obtained from the writing of various authorities in the field.
According to Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858-1954), an American scholar who can be considered as one of the Fathers of Horticultural Science along with Thomas Andrew Knight (1759-1838) and John Lindley (1799-1865), horticulture is the growing of flowers, fruits and vegetables, and of plants for ornament and fancy.
The term horticulture is derived from the Latin words hortus, meaning garden, and cultura, meaning cultivation.
Chandler defines the science of horticulture as a special part of the general field of botany connected with orchards (from the English word ort-yard) and garden plants.
According to Janick (1972), horticulture in its present concept is that part of plant agriculture concerned with so-called garden crops as contrasted with agronomy (field crops, mainly grains and forages) and forestry (forest trees and products). He gave the following definition of horticulture – it is the branch of agriculture concerned with intensively cultured plants directly used by man for food, for medicinal purposes, or for esthetic gratification.
According to Louisiana State University (2011), horticulture is the science and art involved in the cultivation, propagation, processing and marketing of ornamental plants, flowers, turf, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. It is unique among plant sciences because it not only involves science and technology, but it also incorporates art and principles of design.
According to University of Minnesota (2011), horticulture is the art and science of plant production for both beauty and utility. Rather than staple crops, horticulture focuses on value-added, luxury crops.
According to American Society of Horticultural Science – Horticulture is the science and art of producing, improving, marketing, and using fruits, vegetables, flowers, and ornamental plants. It differs from botany and other plant sciences in that horticulture incorporates both science and aesthetics. Production and consumption of high quality fruits and vegetables allows us to maintain a healthy, balanced daily diet.
Flowers and ornamental plants enrich our homes and communities, and contribute to our sense of well-being. Horticulture impacts our lives on a daily basis by providing nutritious fruits and vegetables, offering visual enjoyment, and promoting recreational activities.
Essay # 2. Definition of Horticulture:
Horticulture (garden cultivation) is the branch of agricultural plant sciences that deals with the production of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and ornamentals. It is major source of food and employment in society. Operationally, there are several divisions of horticulture – olericulture (vegetable production), floriculture (flower production), turf culture (turf production), pomology (tree fruit production), arboriculture (tree production), and landscape architecture (design and use of plants in the landscape).
Horticultural foods are rich in minerals and vitamins. Horticulture can be undertaken on a small scale by homeowners on their property, producing flowers and food plants. As an industry, horticulture is supported by a large number of service providers that supply equipment, chemicals, and implements.
Nurseries provide plant materials for growers. Numbers jobs are available to persons with formal training in horticulture, but an equally large number of jobs in this branch of agriculture require little or no formal training.
Horticulture is the industry and science of plant cultivation including the process of preparing soil for the planting of seeds, tubers, or cuttings. Horticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of plant propagation and cultivation, crop production, plant breeding and genetic engineering, plant biochemistry, and plant physiology. The work particularly involves fruits, berries, nuts, vegetables, flowers, trees, shrubs, and turf.
Horticulturists work to improve crop yield, quality, nutritional value, and resistance to insects, diseases, and environmental stresses. Horticulture usually refers to gardening on a smaller scale, while agriculture refers to the large-scale cultivation of crops. The word is composite, from two words, horti, meaning grass, originating in the Greek, meaning the same (grass) and the word culture.
Essay # 3. Branches of Horticulture:
Following are the main divisions of horticulture:
The production of vegetables including storage, processing, and marketing. Vegetable crops are grown for their succulent and edible parts such as the roots, stems, leaves, young tops, flowers, fruits, or seeds for use in culinary preparations either fresh or preserved in the fresh state.
The branch of horticulture which deals with fruit crop production. Fruit crops are grown for their edible fruits which, as a rule, are consumed raw.
The cultivation and management of cut flowers, flowering plants, and foliage plants including their use in ornamental construct such as flower arrangement. A term that is used interchangeably with floriculture is ornamental horticulture.
iv. Plant Propagation/Nursery Crop Culture:
The propagation and production of seedlings, young trees, shrubs and vines, as well as ground covers, turf, ornamental plants and other crops in nurseries for landscaping, interior plantscaping, or outplanting.
v. Landscape Horticulture:
The branch of horticulture which includes the design, construction and care of landscapes taking into consideration proper choice of plants and aesthetic effects for homes, businesses and public places.
The following crops are likewise generally included within the domain of the branches of horticulture – perennial bush and tree nuts; and aromatic and medicinal foliage, seeds and roots.
In addition, the International Society for Horticultural Science and Janick (1972; 2002) provide the following descriptors of horticulture:
1. Horticulture differs from agronomy in many ways but some crops can be classified as both horticultural and agronomic depending on use (e.g. sweet corn is horticultural, grain or forage corn is agronomic). In the tropics, however, the distinction between horticulture and agronomy is not clear.
2. Horticulture is intensive. It deals with high-value crops which are intensively cultivated with high infusion of capital in terms of production inputs, labor and technology per land area.
3. Protected cultivation, as in glasshouses and plastic tunnels, and irrigation are common.
4. The following terms are used to refer to production units for horticultural crops: gardens, orchards, groves, vineyards, greenhouses, nurseries, and sometimes plantations.
5. Horticulture supports environmental enhancement through a special branch of horticulture called environmental or urban horticulture which includes home gardening, landscaping, arboriculture (growing of trees), and interior decorating with the use of plants. These activities have been applied in horticultural therapy in which horticultural plants are used as therapeutic tools.
Horticultural activities may be divided into several broad categories based mainly on the kinds of plants involved.
These divisions form the basis of certain academic programs in horticulture:
Fruits vary in numerous ways. Some are borne on trees, others on bushes. Some fruits are succulent and juicy, whereas others are dry. Growing from is a long-term operation. Fruit trees take a long time (several years) to come into bearing. They also require more growth space per plant than vegetables.
An area of land on which fruit trees are grown in a significant concentration is called an orchard. The branch of horticulture involved with the production including growing, harvesting, processing, and marketing) of fruit trees (including nuts) is called pomology.
Pomology (from pome, meaning fruit, and ology, meaning branch of learning) is the science of fruit growing and is divided into three following classes:
1. Practical pomology – It is referred to as fruit production. Modern scientists refer to pomology as the actual growing of fruits.
2. Commercial pomology – It is primarily the marketing and disposition of fruits, including their storage, preparation and market and many other areas, transportation and outlets, etc.
3. Systematic pomology – It is the knowledge of plants as they grow, their distinctions and their habitat in growth.
Fruit trees such as apple, orange, and per are operationally distinguished from small fruits such as grape, blueberry, and strawberry.
Vegetable production is one of the most popular horticultural activities indulged in by homeowners, often in the backyard or private section of the property. The branch of horticulture involved with the production of vegetables is called olericulture.
Olericulture is science of vegetable production the ancient art of vegetable gardening involves judicious timing and many skills. The knowledge and understanding of planning, planting and producing vegetables reward a gardener with an abundant supply of quality vegetables. They can be grown with use of man-made products or organically.
Some vegetable plants are grown for their fruits (e.g., tomato), leaves (e.g., spinach), roots (e.g., carrot), or pods (e.g., bean). Unlike fruits, vegetables are generally short-duration plants that need to be restarted each growing season.
Vegetables may be harvested and used fresh. However, they are also processed in a variety of ways.
The production and use of ornamentals is the branch of horticulture generally called ornamental horticulture. The term use is included definition because it is an integral part of this branch of horticulture.
Ornamentals may be cultivated in open space (or landscape) or in indoor containers. They may also be grown, arranged, and displayed in a variety of ways. Subdivisions of this branch of horticulture involve distinct activities. Floriculture is the production and use of flowering plants and one of the areas most readily identified with when horticulture is mentioned.
Primarily the art of growing flowers and shrubs used to beautify the landscape.
The operations and practices relating to the care of plants cultivated or grown for their flowers or foliage. Floriculture deals with cultivation, marketing and arranging of flowers and foliage plants. Flowers and ornamental plants have gained an important position in present day society.
In fact, man has utilized flower to express his sentiments on occasions of social functions, wedding, birthday, funerals, etc. In past, flowers were grown outdoors only and their quality and quantity was very much limited by the season.
This specialized food and ornamental-plant production businesses are grouped together in the section of agriculture that is known as horticulture. Ornamental horticulture more appropriately covers the complete industry of flower and ornamental plant production and landscaping.
Flowers and ornamental products are produced commercially and their markets exist throughout the country in which flower and other products are sold.
This contrasts with agriculture, which, in most Western European countries, relies on a high level of machinery use over an extensive area of land, consequently involving few people in the production process. However, the boundary between the two is far from clear, especially when considering large-scale vegetable production.
There is also a fundamental difference between productive horticulture, whether producing plants themselves or plant product, and upkeep of gardens and landscape for their amenity, cultural and recreational values. Where the tending of plants for leisure moves from being horticulture to countryside management is another moot point.
In contrast, the change associated with replacing plants with alternative materials, as in the creation of artificial playing surfaces, tests what is meant by horticulture in a quite different way.
An important aspect of the landscape is the ground covering, which is usually grass. Turfgrass science has developed into a full-fledged program at many colleges. A lawn is the basic landscape element in most cases. Other plants are then playgrounds, and home grounds. Flowers in the landscape may be herbaceous or woody. The branch of horticulture involved with the production of tress is called arboriculture.
The other branches are as follows:
1. Turf Culture:
It includes decorative lawns and sports surfaces for football, cricket, golfs etc.
2. Garden Construction and Maintenance:
It involves the skills of landscaping together with the development of planted areas. Closely associated with this aspect the maintenance of trees and woodlands (arboriculture), specialist features within the garden such as walls and patios (hard landscaping) and the use of water (aquatics).
Interior landscaping is the provision of semi-permanent plant arrangements inside conservatories, offices and many public buildings and involves the skills of careful plant selection and maintenance.
3. Greenhouse Production:
It enables plant material to be supplied outside its normal availability, e.g. chrysanthemums all the year round, tomatoes to a high specification over an extended season, and cucumbers from areas where the climate is not otherwise suitable.
Plant propagation, providing seedlings and cuttings, serves outdoor growing as well as the greenhouse industry. Protected culture, mainly using low or walk-in polythene tunnels, is increasingly important in the production of vegetables, salads and flowers.
4. Nursery Stock:
Nursery stock is concerned with the production of soil- grown or container-grown shrubs and trees. Young stock of fruit may also be established by this sector for sale to the fruit growers – soft fruit (strawberries, etc.), cane fruit (raspberries etc.) and top fruit (apples, pears etc.).
Trees are perennial elements in a landscape design. They usually are large in size and hence require more space than annual plants.
Landscaping is the use of ornamental plants in conjunction with other elements to beautify a given area. The professionals who design such plants are called landscape architects. Since landscaping can enhance a property, it has become an integral part of home construction.
Commercial facilities and other public areas are also appropriately landscape. Malls, playgrounds, boulevards, and parks are example of public places where ornamental plants are used to enhance the environment aesthetically and make it more functional. The use of plants indoors is called interiorscaping (as opposed to landscaping).
Essay # 5. Production Technology of Horticulture:
The science of horticulture includes the production technology of fruits, vegetables, flowers, spices, medicinal plants, mushrooms etc. It also includes per- and post-harvest technologies of these crops.
Following are the importance and scope of horticulture:
India is the second largest producer of fruits in the world. However with its growing population it is in the position to meet the recommended per capita consumption norms. There is vast scope of growing fruit crops in India, because the total area under fruit crops is very small, about 32.05 lac ha is being cultivated.
The fruit industry in India has made remarkable progress during last 3 decades (1961-1993). The area under fruits has increased from 1.22 million ha in 1961 to 3.94 million ha in 1993-94. According to FAO Year Book 1994, India ranks second after China by producing 33.23 million tones, the India’s share in the total world production of fruits being 8 per cent. India has been exporting fresh fruits since several decades.
However, in the more recent past export promotional activities for fresh fruits received greater attention. The fresh fruits exports which were only 27,028 tones valued at Rs. 17.4 million in 1983-84 rose to 55,400 tonnes valued at Rs. 4,367 million during 1994-95.
The majority of Indian population is vegetarian and the production is far less. There is a great demand from all the classes of people for fresh fruits and also for canned fruit products because fruits are the rich source of minerals and vitamins. The climatic conditions of India are quite suitable for growing various types of fruits in various zones, throughout the year.
Certain fruit crops are well adopted to varied edaphic and climatic conditions, e.g., datepalm, ber, pomegranate, guava, lasora, phalsa, etc. The productive life of fruits is quite long, however, banana and papaya have short productive life. Comprehensive economic survey reveals that number of fruit based agro-industries has been established in past years because they are highly remunerative.
Apart from above advantages, fruit trees provide plantation cover for ecological balance improvement. Many fruits are also used for medicinal purposes.
However, India’s share in global exports of horticulture production is negligible being only one per cent. But given the volume of world trade in fresh and processed horticulture products and the country’s resources, India has the potential of more than doubling the present level of exports within the next five years.
Currently, potential technologies have been largely directed towards higher production with little consideration for quality which has to meet export standards. Thus emphasis is required on export directed production technology.
The Government of India is too keen to give much greater attention to the development of horticulture. This is indicated from the fact that plan allocation for horticulture sector has received a quantum jump from little over Rs.1000 crore in the Eighth Five-year Plan to almost its double in the Ninth Plan.
So far low productivity, lack of infrastructural facilities, inadequate post- harvest management arrangements and over-dependence on conventional items were among the important reasons for poor export performance. An Export Enhancement Programme for horticulture produce has now been chalked out. It envisages investment in infrastructural facilities with special reference to post-harvest management techniques, encouraging export oriented production and export promotion market development measures.
Vegetable growing is an important branch of horticulture. India has shown tremendous progress in the increase of vegetable production after independence and is the second largest vegetable producer of the world, only next to China. In India, out of 187.4 million ha of gross cultivated area about 18 lac ha are under vegetable cultivation.
The net irrigated area is about 33.3 million ha. India produces about 70 million tons of vegetables compared with 15 million tones at the time of independence. It is sufficient to provide about 140 g vegetable/day/capita.
Vegetables are essential to human diet particularly in India, as a large section of people are vegetarian. Various nutritive elements like calcium, phosphorous and iron are generally present in cabbage, cauliflower, beans, peas, tomato, carrot, onion, etc. Green leafy vegetables have high quantities of cellulose necessary for digestion and prevent constipation. Vegetables also provide vitamins.
Floriculture was practiced only on small farms but now few large ones have been set up. The estimated area under flowers is 65,000 ha and the major states being Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. The production is estimated to be nearly three lac tones of loose flowers and over 500 million cut flowers with stem.
The per capita consumption of flowers is going up around the world. The business of floriculture is surging forward, the latest estimates of the annual global flower trade are worth 2, 500 million US dollars and the Indian contribution at present is about $0.36 million. Indian participation will in due course show a marked difference for the better in the next two years.
The international floriculture market trade is estimated to be 40 billion US dollars (Rs.125, 000 crores) of which cut-flowers account for nearly 60 per cent i.e., 25 billion US dollars (Rs.80, 000 crores). Countries like Columbia, Israel, Kenya and Italy have made an entree and have created a modicum of competition in a field not even recognized as a major industry.
But the world floriculture trade is still controlled by Holland which has the lion’s share of 67 per cent to its credit. Amongst the many changes which were ushered in after and due to the Indian economic reforms is the budding of the floriculture industry. The bloom boom has caught on the imagination of the entrepreneurs.
Most of the floriculture units are situated in south part of India with a few scattered in the north India., Bangalore and Hyderabad have become the hub of activity and will be cultivating roses of every conceivable variety on a massive scale. There are also some projects in the country which are venturing into cultivation of more exotic and expensive flowers, companies like Natural Synergies grow Orchids, while Oriental Floritech is exporting Carnations.
Floriculture is a wide field and includes a great variety and diversity of job opportunities. In general, ornamental flowers are classified variedly. To the commercial producer or wholesaler or the retailer of flower products, or to the manufacturer or seller of floricultural supplies, it is a business and to the homeowner it is a fascinating hobby.
Since floriculture is a wide field, career opportunities are many and varied.
In general, they are classified as opportunities in following fields:
1. The production of floricultural crops,
2. The buying and selling of floricultural products and supplies essential for the production of floricultural products,
3. Processing of floricultural products,
4. The landscaping of public and private properties, and
5. The research, teaching and extension phases of floriculture.
Career opportunities in production include owning and/or managing orchards, vegetable farms, commercial greenhouses, commercial flower gardens and ornamental crop nurseries. Career opportunities in buying and selling include buying and selling floricultural products for wholesale distributors, hotels, hospitals, the armed services, supermarkets etc.
Buying floricultural products requires knowledge of varieties, their physiology, market classes, types of defects etc. The management of produce in retail stores requires training in packaging, in displaying the product to the best advantage and in anticipating the needs of the customer. Career opportunities in processing include owing or managing canning, freezing, dehydrating, or pickling plants.
1. Emotional Needs:
Flowers and ornamental plants are bought to satisfy emotional needs. To some individuals’ emotions, often described as feelings, is a condition in another person caused by imagination. This view, however, is inaccurate. The emotional needs of human beings are just as real as their physical needs, and each is affected by the other. Flower and plant producers should understand the effect that the purchase of their products can have on customers and evaluate their products on that basis.
Customers want to improve their own and/or someone else’s emotional well-being, and in this instance accomplish it by the purchase of flowers or ornamental plants. The flower and plant grower who can sense the real emotional needs of the customer will do a much better job of supplying the right product.
2. Commercial Floriculture:
The commercial floriculture includes production of the following:
(a) Cut flowers;
(b) Foliage potted plants;
(c) Bedding plant; and
(d) Growing and forcing bulbs and corms of flowering plants for wholesale and retail sales.
The floriculture industry has become highly specialized as the floriculturist has to use many manipulative devices to see that there is a steady supply of flowers and foliage plants irrespective of seasons and minimum loss to the industry because of perishable nature of flowers.
i. Flowers in Industry:
These flowers are traded round the year all-over the country and a bulk of them are used in making garland, bouquets, bracelets, veins and other adornments. Flowers are also used as decorations in marriages and parties and for offerings to gods in temples, poojas etc. Some essential flowers are also used in extraction of essence by the perfumery industry.
Extracts from fragrant flowers such as rose (Rosa spp.) and lavender champak (Cananga odorata) are generally used in the perfume industry. The Mughals were known to be ardent admirers of the perfumes and Empress Noor Jahan was credited with the discovery of attar of roses. Jasmine oil extract from the flowers of Jasminum grandiflorum forms the base for many of the internationally renowned perfumes.
The ultimate refined product which is called concrete from jasmine oil may cost about Rs.10,000 or more per kg in the international market, while tuberose oil from Polyanthes tuberosa blossoms is used in high-grade perfumery and is valued more than that of jasmine. The commercial viability of raising these flowers in a large scale through modern technology and the production of high-grade concrete through industry is envisaged.
Flowers as Blooming Industry:
The world trade in cut-flowers is estimated to be at Rs.15, 750 crores a year. Aalsmeer, close to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, a small village is considered to be the world’s largest wholesale flower market. An average of 12 million cut-flowers from 4,000 nurseries are sold here each day at the market building with a total investment of about 1000 crores which includes building, staff, conveyance, electronic computers and the like.
More than 100 people work at the auction site and florists come from far-off places like Japan and the US to buy flowers. Here, the total sale of flowers is about one-third of the world’s trade per year. The major international centres of flower production are the Netherlands, UK, US and Israel. The developing countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, Thailand and Singapore export flowers which assumed an important place in their economy.
Some industry people have recognized the need, and better foliage plants for use indoors have been developed. There have been many improvements in bedding plants that better satisfy customer needs in outdoor landscaping. New rose, poinsettia, and begonia cultivars are more acceptable to customers. They are more satisfied-they feel better from using these products.
The floriculture industry should be affected less by generally depressed markets than some other industries because the emotional value of flowers or plants is greater than more expensive appliances or clothing.
Spices are considered essential in the culinary art all over the world. They play a definite role in enhancing the taste and flavour of foods. Many of the spices are carminative, digestive, stimulant, stomachic and restore solvent. Some of them act as antioxidants and preservatives also and thus enhance the keeping quality of food. Some of them have medicinal value also, therefore, they are used in ayurvedic medicines and tonics.
India is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of spices. It has over 1.8 million hectares of land under cultivation of spices. On an average, the country produces about 2.5 million tons of spices of which about 93 per cent are consumed in the domestic market and only 7 per cent are exported.
India produces over 60 different spices valued at more than Rs. 5,000 crores. Till a few years ago, India dominated the global spices market, now estimated at 5 lake tones and valued at $ 1.5 billion (Rs. 4,500 crore), with a 95 per cent share.
At present the production of many important spices is confined almost completely to Kerala. There is very good scope for their cultivation in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh also due to similar agro-climatic conditions. In the past, India was exporting spices mostly in raw and bulk form. Now it has started exporting part of the spices in branded consumer packs also.
Among the major spices produced in India, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are the main producers of pepper and cardamom. Ginger and chilies are grown in almost all states of India except Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Turmeric is grown in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. In 1993-94, the area under spices in Madhya Pradesh rose to 19,000 hectares from 18,000 hectares in 1992-93.
The production of spices in India is largely in the hands of small and marginal farmers with limited land holdings. The level of productivity in India, in the case of most of the spices, is below the levels prevailing in other countries. The lower productivity is attributed to lack of scientific support for production and quality improvement, adoption of primitive and crude agro techniques and poor management.
India has been the largest producer, exporter and consumer of species. Besides export, domestic consumption is also steadily increasing. Species grown in about 23 lac hectares, with the production of about 25 lac tones every year.
During Eighth Plan, the Spices Board has fixed a target for export of about Rs. 1,000 million worth of spices by the end of the Eighth Plan mainly by value addition through exports in consumer packs. During 1996-97, 2.19 lac tones of species worth Rs. 1.180 million were exported.
The Government of India is taking a number of steps to improve processing and packaging of spices to boost their export and meet the international requirements. The measures include organizing training for growers and exporters in different states in the field of modern post-harvest techniques of processing to enable them to manufacture spices of international quality and specifications.
Training is also being imparted to small exporters on modern concepts of packaging, retail consumer packaging for international markets and conducting studies to streamline packaging standards and requirements for Indian spices under EEC assistance.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is providing aid worth $ 1 million (Rs. 3 crore) to the Indian government over the a period of three years (1994-95 to 1996-97) to enable India to upgrade quality and export value added spices. Consequent to the recommendations of the Spices Enquiry Committee in 1953, research work on spices in India was initiated in the 1950s’ on cardamom, pepper, ginger, turmeric, clove, nutmeg and coriander at Panniyur, Chethalli, Dergaon, Sirsi, Kandaghat, Thodupuzha, Ambalavayal, Burliyar and Fulia.
The formation of an All-India Coordinated Research Project on Spices’ in 1971, however, was the first major step taken by the government towards a concerted programme on spices research. Under this project, 15 centres for research have been established in almost all the major spice growing states in the country.
The main crops covered under the project are black pepper; cardamom (small and large), ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander, fennel and fennel and fenugreek. In the Eighth Plan, it is proposed to include tree spices like clove, nutmeg and cinnamon also under this project.
Mushrooms have a huge export potential. There is a world market for 14 lac tones mushroom per annum against which India is exporting only about 2, 400 tones. The world demand is likely to go up to more than 20 lac tones by 1998. Before 1990, only dried morels (Morchella spp.) and some amount of black ear mushroom (Auricularia) were exported to the tune of about 50 MT to France and Switzerland.
In 1993-94, there had been about 50% increase in the export of preserved mushrooms compared to the exports in 1992-93. Northern States of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab are the largest producers of white button mushroom. Mushroom production in Himachal Pradesh has already crossed 1500 MT. Mushroom production in other States is catching up fast. One 100% EOU in Dehradun is producing more than 2500 MT of mushroom per annum.
Mushrooms are reproductive structures of edible fungi that belong to Ascomycotina and Basidiomycotina. They occur under various ecological conditions from desert to forest. They comprise a large heterogeneous group with different shapes, sizes, colour and edibility. Of the 2000 known edible species, only 20 are commercially cultivated.
Mushrooms can produce highest quantity of protein per unit area and time from the agro-wastes. They are good source of high quality proteins and are rich in vitamins and minerals. They contain 20-35% protein (dry weight basis) (higher than in vegetables and fruits), lysine and tryptophan (the two essential amino acids that are deficient in cereals). They contain good amount of vitamin C and B complex (thiamine, riboflavin and niacin), potassium, phosphorus and sodium, also low but available form of iron.
In mushrooms, potassium: sodium ratio is very high which is ideal for patients of hypertension. They are a low calorie food with very little fat and sugars and without starch and cholesterol. Mushrooms have medicinal properties. Pharmaceuticals worth $ 700 million are produced annually in Japan from Lentinus, Coriolus, Schizophyllum and Ganoderma. Further, compounds extracted from mushrooms have antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Mushrooms are capable of agro-waste degradation. Mushrooms are grown on organic substrates, either raw or composted. These substrates are mostly waste materials from farms, plantations, or factories. Further, used compost from mushroom growing may also be recycled for use as animal feeds, soil conditioning and fertilizer. Mushrooms grow independent of sunlight without fertile land. They do not compete with field or fruit crops and provide an additional avenue for increasing food supply.
Essay # 6. Relationship of Horticulture With Industries, Society and Plant Science:
Horticulture as an industry is supported by other allied industries. The major ones are the nursery industry and seed industry.
The growth in the horticultural industry today is attributable in part to the growth in the nursery industry. Nurseries provide seedlings for growers who do not want to raise plants from scratch and prefer to take advantage of their convenience. In fact, certain plants are difficult to propagate without special conditions that the homeowner ordinarily cannot provide.
Nurseries also grow and sell mature plants in containers for use indoors and outdoors. Nurseries facilitate the work of landscape architects and contractors by providing materials that are ready to be installed on-site enabling a bare ground to be instantly transformed into a lawn with tress and other ornamental plants.
Commercial nurseries are equipped to provide ideal conditions for plant growth. By growing plants under a controlled environment, nurseries provide growers a head start on plant production for the season. They start the plants in the greenhouse in winter when growing them outside is impossible. These plants are timed to be ready for transplanting into the field when spring conditions arrive.
Nurseries produce a variety of plants-bushes, trees, tubers, roots, and cool-season plants because they are equipped to control the plant growth environment. The small-scale home grower can purchase portable plant growth chambers for use at home.
Researchers (geneticists and breeders) are continually developing new plant cultivars. These new types may be higher yielding, more resistant to environmental stresses (such as moisture, temperature, and light) and diseases, higher in nutritional value, or aesthetically more pleasing, among other qualities.
Seeds from the research domain reach the consumer after going through several steps I the seed release process. Once certified and released as a cultivar, seed growers in the seed industry become responsible for multiplying the seed of the new cultivar, processing it, and packaging it for sale.
The role of the seed industry is crucial to the success that the horticultural industry currently enjoys. Seed packets come with instructions about how the plant should be raised to maturity. These instructions are of tremendous help, especially to novice growers.
The seed industry has eliminated the need for growers to produce their own seed for planting, unless they so desire. The price of commercial seed is reasonable, and mail-order purchases are possible in many cases. Seed production is usually concentrated in areas where the growing season is most favorable for cropping.
Horticulture is important to society in a variety of ways, including as a source of food, ornamentals, and jobs.
Society depends on horticulture for a substantial portion of its food needs in the form of vegetables, fruits and nuts. These types of food sources are high in complex carbohydrates and rich in vitamins and minerals. Leguminous vegetable plants are high in both carbohydrates and protein. Horticultural products are hence part of a balanced diet for humans.
Commercial producers account for most of the horticultural products in the nation However, numerous homeowners are engaged in gardening on their property as a source of fresh produce for the table and as a hobby for recreation and exercise. Horticultural products may be purchased fresh or processed.
For example, certain vegetables (such as carrot, lettuce, tomato, and pepper) may be eaten fresh and raw in salads, and fruits (such as apple, orange, and grape) may be eaten fresh or processed into beverages.
Horticultural crops are an important source of revenue through exports for a country. The United States exports both fresh and processed horticultural crops worldwide.
Landscaping has become an integral part of home construction. Ornamentals are found both indoors and outdoors. Plants in the landscape include trees, shrubs, bedding plants, and grasses. Ornamentals are formally displayed for public enjoyment in places such as arboretums, Parks and botanical gardens.
Botanical gardens are designed to exhibit a large variety of plant types for the pleasure and education of visitors. Public areas such as malls, playgrounds, and cemeteries are places where plants are displayed for specific purposes. In many societies, certain flowers are associated with specific social events.
For example, roses are associated with Valentine’s Day, carnations with graduation and Mother’s Day, poinsettias with Christmas, and lilies with Easter, which is not to say that these flowers cannot be used for other purposes. Flowers feature very prominently say that these flowers cannot be used for other purposes.
Flowers feature very prominently at funerals and weddings. The golf course industry is a major horticultural enterprise that involves not only turf grasses but also a wide variety of trees, shrubs, bedding plants, and other ornamentals.
Horticulture is known to have therapeutic value that can be derived by participating in it or simply enjoying what has been created by others. Walking through a botanical garden can be very relaxing and healthy.
People with emotional and mental problems have been helped when they were deliberately exposed to ornamental plants. For the visually impaired, horticulture can be enjoyed by touching the plant parts and enjoying the sweet scents.
Gardening can be undertaken by people to keep fit or to relieve boredom and other negative emotional feelings. People who are incarcerated or severely limited in their movement are prone to frustration. For such individuals, horticultural activities can be helpful in better managing their emotions.
Horticulture and Plant Science:
Plant science and horticulture courses include:
i. Plant materials,
ii. Plant propagation,
iii. Tissue culture,
iv. Crop production,
v. Post- harvest handling,
vi. Plant breeding,
vii. Pollination management,
viii. Crop nutrition,
x. Plant pathology,
xi. Economics, and
Some careers in horticultural science require a masters (MS) or doctoral (Ph.D) degree.
Horticulture is practiced in many gardens, “plant growth centres” and nurseries. Activities in nurseries range from preparing seeds and cuttings to growing fully mature plants. These are often sold or transferred to ornamental gardens or market gardens.
Horticulture has a very long history. The study and science of horticulture dates all the way back to the times of Alexander the Great, and has been going on ever since, with present day horticulturists such as Freeman S. Howlett, the revolutionary horticulturist.
The origins of horticulture lie in the transition of human communities from nomadic hunter-gatherers to sedentary or semi-sedentary horticultural communities, cultivating a variety of crops on a small scale around their dwellings or in specialized plots visited occasionally during migrations from one area to the next, (such as the ‘milpa’ or maize field of Mesoamerican cultures).
In forest areas such horticulture is often carried out in swiddens (‘slash and burn’ areas). A characteristic of horticultural communities is that useful trees are often to be found planted around communities or specially retained from the natural ecosystem.
Horticulture primarily differs from agriculture in two ways, firstly it generally encompasses a smaller scale of cultivation, using small plots of mixed crops rather than large fields of single crops. Secondly horticultural cultivations generally include a wide variety of crops, even including fruit trees with ground crops.
Agricultural cultivations however as a rule focus on one primary crop. In pre-contact North America the semi-sedentary horticultural communities of the Eastern Woodlands (growing maize, squash and sunflower) contrasted markedly with the mobile hunter-gatherer communities of the Plains people.
In Central America, Maya horticulture involved augmentation of the forest with useful trees such as papaya, avocado, cacao, ceiba and sapodilla. In the cornfields, multiple crops were grown such as beans (using cornstalks as supports), squash, pumpkins and chilli peppers, in some cultures tended mainly or exclusively by women.