Horticulture involves nine areas of study, which can be grouped into two broad sections:

ornamentals and edibles:

  • Arboriculture is the study of, and the selection, plant, care, and removal of, individual trees, shrubs, vines, and other perennial woody plants.
  • Turf management includes all aspects of the production and maintenance of turf grass for sports, leisure use or amenity use.
  • Floriculture includes the production and marketing of floral crops.
  • Landscape horticulture includes the production, marketing and maintenance of landscape plants.
  • Olericulture includes the production and marketing of vegetables.
  • Pomology includes the production and marketing of pome fruits.
  • Viticulture includes the production and marketing of grapes.
  • Oenology includes all aspects of wine and winemaking.
  • Postharvest physiology involves maintaining the quality of and preventing the spoilage of plants and animals.

Horticulture industry in Asia cater to almost all types of above mentioned fileds of specialisations. Hortiasia.com  provides consultency and education in all above fields.

The horticulture industry embraces the production, processing and shipping of and the market for fruits and vegetables. As such it is a sector of agribusiness and industrialized agriculture. Industrialized horticulture sometimes also includes the floriculture industry.

Among the most important fruits are:

  • bananas
  • semi-tropical fruits like lychee, guava or tamarillo
  • citrus fruits
  • soft fruits (berries)
  • apples
  • stone fruits

Important vegetables include:

  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • tomatoes
  • onions and
  • cabbage

In 2013, the global fruit production was estimated at 676.9 million tonnes (666,200,000 long tons; 746,200,000 short tons). Global vegetable production (including melons) was estimated at 879.2 million tonnes (865,300,000 long tons; 969,200,000 short tons) with China and India being the two top producing countries.


Value chain

The horticultural value chain includes:

  • Inputs: elements needed for production; seeds, fertilizers, agrochemicals, farm equipment, irrigation equipment
  • Production for export: includes fruit and vegetables production and all processes related to growth and harvesting; planting, weeding, spraying, picking
  • Packing and cold storage: grading, washing, trimming, chopping, mixing, packing, labeling, blast chilling
  • Processed fruit and vegetables: dried, frozen, preserved, juices, pulps; mostly for increasing shelf life
  • Distribution and marketing: supermarkets, small scale retailers, wholesalers, food service

Horticulture in India

The total production and economic value of horticultural produce, such as fruits, vegetables and nuts has doubled in India over the 10-year period from 2002 to 2012. In 2012, the production from horticulture exceeded grain output for the first time. The total horticulture produce reached 277.4 million metric tonnes in 2013, making India the second largest producer of horticultural products after China. Of this, India in 2013 produced 81 million tonnes of fruits, 162 million tonnes of vegetables, 5.7 million tonnes of spices, 17 million tonnes of nuts and plantation products (cashew, cacao, coconut, etc.), 1 million tonnes of aromatic horticulture produce and 1.7 million tonnes of flowers (7.6 billion cut flowers).

Horticultural productivity in India, 2013
Country[74] Area under fruits production
(million hectares)
Average Fruits Yield
(Metric tonnes per hectare)
Area under vegetable production
(million hectares)
Average Vegetable Yield
(Metric tonnes per hectare)
 India 7.0 11.6 9.2 17.6
 China 11.8 11.6 24.6 23.4
 Spain 1.54 9.1 0.32 39.3
 United States 1.14 23.3 1.1 32.5
World 57.3 11.3 60.0 19.7

During the 2013 fiscal year, India exported horticulture products worth ₹14,365 crore (US$2.2 billion), nearly double the value of its 2010 exports. Along with these farm-level gains, the losses between farm and consumer increased and are estimated to range between 51 and 82 million metric tonnes a year.

Organic Agriculture

Organic agriculture has fed India for centuries and it is again a growing sector in India. Organic production offers clean and green production methods without the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides and it achieves a premium price in the market place. India has 650,000 organic producers, which is more that any other country. India also has 4 million hectares of land certified as organic wildculture, which is third in the world (after Finland and Zambia).

Horticulture in China

About 75% of China’s cultivated area is used for food crops. Rice is China’s most important crop, raised on about 25% of the cultivated area. The majority of rice is grown south of the Huai River, in the Zhu Jiang delta, and in the Yunnan, Guizhou, and Sichuan provinces.

Wheat is the second most-prevalent grain crop, grown in most parts of the country but especially on the North China Plain, the Wei and Fen River valleys on the Loess plateau, and in Jiangsu, Hubei, and Sichuan provinces. Corn and millet are grown in north and northeast China, and oat is important in Inner Mongolia and Tibet.

Other crops include sweet potatoes in the south, white potatoes in the north, and various other fruits and vegetables. Tropical fruits are grown on Hainan Island, apples and pears are grown in northern Liaoning and Shandong.

Oil seeds are important in Chinese agriculture, supplying edible and industrial oils and forming a large share of agricultural exports. In North and Northeast China, Chinese soybeans are grown to be used in tofu and cooking oil. China is also a leading producer of peanuts, which are grown in Shandong and Hebei provinces. Other oilseed crops are sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, rapeseed, and the seeds of the tung tree.

Citrus is a major cash crop in southern China, with production scattered along and south of the Yangtze River valley. Mandarins are the most popular citrus in China, with roughly double the output of oranges.[23]

Other important food crops for China include green and jasmine teas (popular among the Chinese population), black tea (as an export), sugarcane, and sugar beets. Tea plantations are located on the hillsides of the middle Yangtze Valley and in the southeast provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang. Sugarcane is grown in Guangdong and Sichuan, while sugar beets are raised in Heilongjiang province and on irrigated land in Inner Mongolia. Lotus is widely cultivated throughout southern China.Arabica coffee is grown in the southwestern province of Yunnan.

Fiber crops

Cotton growing in Yangxin County, Hubei

China is the leading producer of cotton, which is grown throughout, but especially in the areas of the North China Plain, the Yangtze river delta, the middle Yangtze valley, and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Other fiber crops include ramie, flax, jute, and hemp. Sericulture, the practice of silkworm raising, is also practiced in central and southern China.

Horticulture in Japan

Agriculture, farming, and fishing form the primary sector of industry of the Japanese economy, together with the Japanese mining industry, but together they account for only 1.3% of gross national product. Only 20% of Japan’s land is suitable for cultivation, and the agricultural economy is highly subsidized.

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing dominated the Japanese economy until the 1940s, but thereafter declined into relative unimportance. In the late 19th century (Meiji period), these sectors had accounted for more than 80% of employment. Employment in agriculture declined in the prewar period, but the sector was still the largest employer (about 50% of the work force) by the end of World War II. It was further declined to 23.5% in 1965, 11.9% in 1977, and to 7.2% in 1988. The importance of agriculture in the national economy later continued its rapid decline, with the share of net agricultural production in GNP finally reduced between 1975 and 1989 from 4.1% to 3% In the late 1980s, 85.5% of Japan’s farmers were also engaged in occupations outside of farming, and most of these part-time farmers earned most of their income from nonfarming activities.

Japan’s economic boom that began in the 1950s left farmers far behind in both income and agricultural technology. They were attracted to the government’s food control policy under which high rice prices were guaranteed and farmers were encouraged to increase the output of any crops of their own choice. Farmers became mass producers of rice, even turning their own vegetable gardens into rice fields. Their output swelled to over 14 million metric tons in the late 1960s, a direct result of greater cultivated area and increased yield per unit area, owing to improved cultivation techniques.

Three types of farm households developed: those engaging exclusively in agriculture (14.5% of the 4.2 million farm households in 1988, down from 21.5% in 1965); those deriving more than half their income from the farm (14.2% down from 36.7% in 1965); and those mainly engaged in jobs other than farming (71.3% up from 41.8% in 1965). As more and more farm families turned to nonfarming activities, the farm population declined (down from 4.9 million in 1975 to 4.8 million in 1988). The rate of decrease slowed in the late 1970s and 1980s, but the average age of farmers rose to 51 years by 1980, twelve years older than the average industrial employee. Historically and today, women farmers outnumber male farmers. Government data from 2011 showed women heading more than three-quarters of new agribusiness ventures.

The most striking feature of Japanese agriculture is the shortage of farmland. The 49,000 square kilometres (19,000 sq mi) under cultivation constituted just 13.2% of the total land area in 1988. However, the land is intensively cultivated. Rice paddies occupy most of the countryside, whether on the alluvial plains, the terraced slopes, or wetlands and coastal bays. Non-paddy farmland share the terraces and lower slopes and are planted with wheat and barley in the autumn and with sweet potatoes, vegetables, and dry rice in the summer. Intercropping is common: such crops are alternated with beans and peas.

Japanese agriculture has been characterized as a “sick” sector because it must contend with a variety of constraints, such as the rapidly diminishing availability of arable land and falling agricultural incomes. The problem of surplus rice was further aggravated by extensive changes in the diets of many Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s. Even a major rice crop failure did not reduce the accumulated stocks by more than 25% of the reserve. In 1990, Japan was 67% self-sufficient in agricultural products and provided for around 30% of its cereal and fodder needs.

Horticulture in Indonesia

Horticulture, which includes fruits and vegetables production, holds an important role in local Indonesian economy, food security, diet and cuisine. Indonesia possess large variety of horticultural products, with native fruits includes durian, mangosteen, rambutan, salak, banana, jackfruit, mango, kedondong, jambu air, buni, jamblang and kecapi. Majority of local needs of fruits and vegetables are supplied by local traditional farmers. The produces’ prices are highly dependent on the seasonal availability and the proximity to production centers, due to transportation and cargo infrastructure restrictions. As the result, the prices of horticulture produces vary greatly throughout Indonesia; the prices might be cheaper in Bandung and Bukittinggi which are closer to horticulture farms, but significantly more expensive in Pekanbaru and Balikpapan which are located far from mountainous production centres. Recently, owed to Indonesian variety of topography, non-tropical horticultural products; such as apple, strawberry, honeydew, grapes and dragon fruit are grown in cooler mountainous region in Indonesia. Mountainous regions around Malang in East Java are known as the production center of apple and dragonfruit, while those around Bandung in West Java are known as strawberry, honeydew and mushroom production center.

Floating market in Siring, Banjarmasin.

As the world’s fourth largest population, Indonesia possess a large market for horticultural products. Nevertheless, the horticultural sector in Indonesia is deemed as underperforming, which created the need of imported fruits and vegetables. It is often found that the locally grown horticultural produces have inferior quality compared to imported ones. Indonesian horticulture farmers face a problematic situation; the imported horticultural products are often cheaper than the locally produced horticultural products. Compared to neighboring countries with well-developed horticultural sector such as Thailand, Indonesia has much to improve. Currently, Indonesia imported much of its horticultural needs from Thailand (especially durian, carrot and chili pepper), China (especially garlic, orange and pear) and United States (especially soybean and apple). To protect local farmers, Indonesia applied protectionist policy on import settings for horticultural products, as well as the restriction of port of entry.

Various Indonesian spices.

Spice is an essential element in Indonesian cuisine. In Indonesian, spice is called rempah, while the mixture of spices is called bumbu, they are chopped finely or ground into paste using traditional stone mortar and pestle, and spread over vegetables, meat, poultry, fish and seafood to add aroma and taste. Known throughout the world as the “Spice Islands”, the Indonesian islands of Maluku contributed to the introduction of its native spices to the world. Spices such as pala (nutmeg/mace), cengkeh (clove), daun pandan (Pandan leaves), kluwek (Pangium edule) and laos (galangal) are native to Indonesia. However, surprisingly nutmeg, mace and cloves are seldomly used in Indonesian cuisine.

It is likely that lada hitam (black pepper), kunyit (turmeric), sereh (lemongrass), salam koja (curry leaf), bawang merah (shallot), kayu manis (cinnamon), kemiri (candlenut), ketumbar (coriander), and asam jawa (tamarind) were introduced from India or mainland Southeast Asia, while jahe (ginger), daun bawang (scallions) and bawang putih (garlic) were introduced from China. Those spices from mainland Asia were introduced early, in ancient times, thus they became integral ingredients in Indonesian cuisine. While the New World spices such as chili pepper and tomato were introduced by Portuguese and Spanish traders during the age of exploration in the 16th century.


Palm oil

Palm oil bunch.

Indonesia is both the world’s biggest producer and consumer of the commodity, providing about half the world supply. Oil palm plantations stretch across 6 million hectares. Palm oil is the essential ingredients to produces cooking oil, as well as other food and cosmetics products. The country also aimed to be the largest palm-based biofuel production center.


Coconut plays an important role in Indonesian cuisine as well as its economy. Coconut milk is an important common ingredients in numbers of Indonesian favourites, including rendang and soto. According to figures published in December 2009 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, it is the world’s second largest producer of coconuts, producing 15,319,500 tonnes in 2009.


Rubber tapping near Siantar in North Sumatra in 1993.

Indonesian rubber industry take its root in colonial Dutch East Indies; in the early 20th century the rubber plantation in the colony was booming, largely owed to the advent of natural rubber tire industry to supply the growing automotive industry in the United States and Europe. Currently, Indonesia’s rubber production is the world’s second-largest after Thailand. Natural rubber is an important export commodity that earn foreign exchange, with increasing production trend. In fact, ASEAN nations are among the largest natural rubber producers; the combined rubber yield of three ASEAN members — Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia — accounts for nearly 66 percent of global total rubber production. However, compared to neighbouring countries, Indonesia’s productivity level is lower (1,080 kg/ha), compared to Thailand (1,800 kg/ha), Vietnam (1,720 kg/ha) and Malaysia (1,510 kg/ha). Smallholder farmers in Indonesia retain for about 85 percent of total rubber estates, which suggests the minor role of government and large private estates in Indonesian rubber industry. Another problem is the lack of rubber processing facilities and manufacturing industry. In Indonesia, about half of the natural rubber that is absorbed internally goes to the tire manufacturing industry, followed by rubber gloves, rubber thread, footwear, retread tires, medical gloves, rubber carpets and various rubber tools.


A cup of Java coffee.

In 2014, Indonesia was the fourth largest producer of coffee. Coffee in Indonesia began with its colonial history, and has played an important part in the growth of the country. Indonesia’s geographic location is considered as ideal for coffee plantations. It is located near the equator and with numerous mountainous regions across the islands which creates suitable micro-climates for the growth and production of coffee.

Indonesia produced an estimated 540,000 metric tons of coffee in 2014. Of this total, estimated 154,800 tons was required for domestic consumption in the 2013–2014 financial year. Of the exports, 25% are arabica beans; the balance is robusta.


Indonesia is the world sixth largest tea producer. Tea production in Indonesia began in the 18th century, introduced by the Dutch as cash crop. Indonesia produced 150,100 tonnes of tea in 2013. However, 65% of that was exported from the country, which suggests Indonesians relatively low tea consumption. Tea production in Indonesian focused mainly on black tea, although small amounts of green are also produced. Moreover, many Indonesian tea varieties are not well known globally, since much of the Indonesian tea is used in blends; mixed with other teas.


Indonesia is the fifth largest tobacco producer in the world, and also the fifth largest tobacco market in the world, and in 2008 over 165 billion cigarettes were sold in the country.

Horticulture in Central Asia

Horticulture in Central Asia provides a brief regional overview of agriculture in the five contiguous states of former Soviet Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Two other countries that are sometimes classified as Central Asian – Afghanistan and Mongolia – are not included in this overview because of their substantially different background.

The five Central Asian countries are highly agrarian, with 60% of the population living in rural areas and agriculture accounting for over 45% of total number of employed and nearly 25% of GDP on average. Kazakhstan, with its strong energy sector, is less agrarian than the average Central Asian country, with agriculture accounting for only 8% of GDP (but still 33% of total employment). It is closer in this respect to the core CIS countries of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, where agriculture contributes around 10% of GDP and agricultural employment averages 15%.

Agricultural land in Central Asia is mostly desert and mountain pastures. Arable land suitable for crop production is around 20% of total agricultural land (and as low as 4% in Turkmenistan). In Russia and Ukraine, on the other hand, arable land is 60%-80% of agricultural land. As a result, pasture-based livestock production is more prominent in Central Asia than in the core ClS countries.

By far the two most significant crops in Central Asia are rice and wheat. Only Kazakhstan does not cultivate significant amounts of cotton. Central Asia is largely desert, and cotton production strongly relies on irrigation. More than 80% of arable land in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan is irrigated, and only Kazakhstan, with its wheat-based crop production, irrigates only 7% of its arable land.The emphasis on intensive cotton cultivation in the Amudarya and Syrdarya basin countries has played a major role in the drying and polluting of the Aral Sea because of the large amounts of water and fertilizer used in cotton cultivation. Cotton mono-culture during the Soviet period exhausted the soil and led to serious plant diseases, which adversely affect cotton yields to this date.

The cultivation of wheat has also contributed to environmental issues, starting with the Virgin Lands Campaign during the Soviet era. Because the precautionary measures taken to preserve soil quality when the campaign began were insufficient, the soil eroded and its nutrients became degraded by excessive mono-crop cultivation. This history continues to affect grain production today, particularly in Kazakhstan.

Aside from these two primary crops, the region produces a wide variety of products which include barley, corn, flax, grapes, potatoes, rice, sugar beets, sunflowers, tobacco, apricots, pears, plums, apples, cherries, pomegranates, melons, dates, figs, sesame, pistachios, and nuts.

Animal husbandry constitutes a large part of Central Asian agriculture. Cattle, sheep, and poultry are the main animal species in agriculture, and breeding race horses is the pride of Turkmenistan. Some famous local breeds include the Karakul sheep and the Akhal-Teke horse. Some regions also cultivate mulberry trees and breed silkworms.

Kazakhstan together with USAID and UNDP launched a program aiming at introducing digital techniques in weather forecasting.[2] This initiative is especially important for Kazakhstan, the world’s seventh largest exporter of wheat, where farmers depend on reliable data about weather to produce wheat.