[Answered] Discuss the factors supporting the growing cultivation of exotic and novel fruits and vegetables.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain some factors supporting the growing cultivation of exotic and novel fruits and vegetables.Conclusion: Write a way forward.

The growth of exotic food in India is being closely followed by the domestic production of exotic foods, which itself is growing at 14-16 percent. Among fruits, those that are imported in large quantities include Japan’s Fuji apples and other varieties of green apples, red grapes, dates, berries, kiwi fruit, different types of mandarin oranges pomelo, and several other varieties of citrus fruits.

Factors supporting the growing cultivation of exotic and novel fruits and vegetables:

  • Farmers replaced traditional crops like sugarcane, grapes, soybean, and vegetables with dragon fruit because it requires less water and cash inputs but fetches higher prices in the market.
  • Many farmers in Kerala have begun to diversify their farming from traditional crops to butternut squash (introduced from Central America), Gac fruit from Vietnam, and Loquat from China. As they provide much more remunerative than conventional crops.
  • Increased awareness among people to eat diversified food.
  • Impact of the pandemicincreased the need for nutritious and immunity-boosting foods.
  • Government promotion: Under Integrated Horticulture Development Mission, the government promotes kiwi, avocado, passion fruit, blueberry, dragon fruit, etc.
  • The Indian Agricultural Research Institutehas been promoting the technology for growing non-native plants under controlled environmental conditions in poly-houses.
  • A University in Himachal Pradesh hasdeveloped high-yielding technology suitable for growing products like avocado, kiwi, and hazelnut in northern hilly areas.

India’s highly diverse agro-climatic conditions in different regions should be effectively utilised for cultivation of exotic and novel food items. Farmers need to include high-value exotic fruits and vegetables in their cropping patterns to get good returns.

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