"India incurs post-harvest fruits and vegetable losses worth over Rs 2 lakh crore each year largely owing to the absence of food processing units, modern cold storage facilities and a callous attitude towards tackling the grave issue of post-harvest losses," Assocham said in a study.
    
The study titled 'Horticulture Sector in India: State Level Experience' also highlighted that about 22 percent of fruits and vegetables produced in India reach the wholesale market.
    
Among the states, post harvest losses are maximum in West Bengal worth over Rs 13,657 crore followed by Gujarat (Rs 11,400 crore), Bihar (Rs 10,700 crore) and Uttar Pradesh (Rs 10,300 crore).
    
"Developing wholesale markets together with enhancing the cold storage capacities in local and regional markets are key for reducing post-harvest fruits and vegetable losses and enhancing their market arrival," the study added.
    
However, the study has pegged the total production of fruits and vegetables in the country are likely to cross 377 million tonnes by 2021 from the present level of 227 MT.
    
"Currently, over 77 MT fruits and about 150 MT vegetables are produced in India and their production is growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) ranging between 5-6 percent, respectively," the study said.
    
The study has projected that demand for fruits and vegetables in India would grow exponentially as the economy and agriculture sector is likely to grow at over 8 percent and about 4 percent, respectively as estimated by the 12th Five Year Plan.
    
Banana, mango, citrus, papaya and guava account for major share in total fruit production across India. Potato, tomato, onion, brinjal and tapioca account for maximum share in vegetable production in the country.

(Agencies)

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