Intake of vegetables higher in rural India

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Ludhiana, Jun 15 (UNI) Vegetables are an important part of the Indian diet and the percentage share of total expenditure on vegetables has increased from 3.6 per cent in the mid 1970s to 6.1 for rural consumers and for urban consumers the figure has remained almost stagnant at 4.5 per cent.

Indian consumers prefer to prepare vegetables based food at home, although there is gradual acceptance of processed food.

According to statistics avaliable with Punjab Agricultural University's (PAUs) department of Business Management, expenditure on vegetables forms 11 per cent of total food expenditure in rural India and 10.5 per cent in urban India.

In case of Punjab, rural consumers spend 9.3 per cent of total food expenditure on vegetables, while for urban consumers the figure is 9 per cent.

Vegetables are increasingly regarded as a viable diversification from the traditional field crops and India is the second largest producer of vegetables in the world with a share of 14.5 per cent in the global production.

Apart from potato, major vegetables produced in the country include tomato, onion, brinjal, okra, peas, cauliflower, cabbage and tapioca. Vegetable crops can generate higher profits and income than staple crops because the value of horticultural products per unit area is higher than the value of staple crops.

The domestic vegetable production has shown stagnation in the recent past. With area under cultivation being 7.2 million hectares and production of about 112 million tonnes.

Major vegetable producing states in India are West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. These states contribute approximately 37 per cent in terms of area under vegetable production.

In Punjab the vegetable production is 2.5 million tonnes and area under vegetable cultivation is 0.17 million hectares. Apart from potato major vegetables produced in Punjab are onion, tomato, culiflower and peas.

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