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ISSN : 1225-8504(Print)
ISSN : 2287-8165(Online)
Journal of the Korean Society of International Agriculture Vol.35 No.2 pp.104-111

Exploring Small-fruit Production in India: Present Landscape and Future Opportunities

Shailesh S. Sawant, Byulhana Lee, Janghoon Song, Ho-Jin Seo
Pear Research Institute, National Institute of Horticultural & Herbal Science, Naju, 58216, Republic of Korea
Corresponding author (Phone) +82-61-330-1562 (E-mail)
June 2, 2023 June 20, 2023 June 21, 2023


In recent years, India has consistently increased its production of small fruits. India is the second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables globally, with a diverse range of small fruits grown across the country. Small fruits, such as kiwifruit and blueberries, are in high demand due to the growing popularity of healthier food options and increased awareness of their associated health benefits. However, the current status of small fruit production in India is substantially lower than that of other fruit crops. Nonetheless, there has been a growing interest in small fruit production, particularly in regions with suitable climatic conditions. Currently, only two types of small fruit are commercially produced in India: grapes and Indian jujube/ber. Three other fruit types, strawberries, blueberries, and kiwi, have production areas of less than 10,000 ha each. Despite the growing interest in small fruit production, several challenges, such as the lack of good planting materials, productivity issues, lack of packaging facilities, and marketing networks for farmers, need to be addressed to enhance the prospects for small fruit production in India. Future studies should focus on several areas to overcome these challenges. Firstly, it is crucial to understand the specific resource constraints that small fruit producers face and develop strategies to improve their access to essential resources, including planting materials, land, water, and financial support. Secondly, innovative marketing strategies tailored to the unique characteristics of small fruit production in India should be employed to expand domestic and international market opportunities. Lastly, adopting appropriate technologies and sustainable production practices is necessary to improve productivity and mitigate environmental impacts. Overall, the prospects for small fruit production in India appear promising, given the growing demand for healthier food options and the expanding domestic and international markets for small fruits.

인도의 소과류 생산 현황과 미래 전망

사완트 사일러쉬, 이별하나, 송장훈, 서호진
국립원예특작과학원 배연구소



    IIndia is located in Asia, between latitudes 8°4′ N and 37°6′ N and longitudes 68°7′ E and 97°25′ E. The Tropic of Cancer, located at 23°30′ N, divides India approximately equally. The upper half has a cooler temperate climate, whereas the lower has a tropical climate. India is a vast country ranking seventh in terms of land mass. It exhibits an immense diversity in climate, topography, flora, fauna, and land use. Over half of India’s land area is used as cropland, making it one of the largest producers of agricultural commodities worldwide (Teluguntla et al., 2015;FAOSTAT 2023). Although over 300 fruit species are cultivated in India, more than 75% of the total fruit cultivation area is dedicated to mango, banana, citrus, guava, grape, pineapple, papaya, sapota, litchi, and apple (Mitra et al., 2010). However, efforts have been made to introduce novel fruits, such as kiwifruit, dragon fruit, blueberry, avocado, and persimmon, into the Indian fruit basket. Attempts have also been made to collect and study other small fruit crops and germplasms, such as Actinidia spp., Vaccinium corymbosum, V. angustifolium, and V. ashei (Singh et al., 2017;Totad et al., 2019, 2020;Ranjan et al., 2022), although their commercial production has not been successful. The key challenges currently faced by India in small fruit production include a lack of access to modern technology, a lack of good planting materials, the impact of climate change, inadequate pest and disease control measures, and limitations in marketing and distribution infrastructure.

    Currently, owing to government initiatives such as from the Central Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, India has taken key steps to ensure proper training and capacity building of farmers in production as well as the packaging of small fruit products such as kiwi ( PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1671949). The government also ensures that farmers are connected to the market to reap a fair price for their produce. Cooperation in the agriculture sector, and increased imports and exports between India and the rest of the world, have expanded the agricultural industry in the country. However, India is now primarily recognized as an important consumer and importer of small fruits such as blueberries and kiwis. This study examines the current status and cultivars of important small fruit crops in India.

    Current status of small fruit production in India

    1. Grapes

    1) Production and cultivars

    Grapes (Vitis vinifera L.) are one of the most important commercial fruit crops in temperate zones and have been successfully acclimatized to subtropical and tropical agroclimatic conditions on the Indian subcontinent. In India, grapes are used for table consumption, wine, juice, raisins, and canning (Kumar and Chopra 2023). This crop has substantial export potential and contributes to foreign exchange earnings. It is widely cultivated in various countries, including France, Italy, USA, Africa, Australia, Chile, Algeria, and India. Global grape production in 2021 was 73,524,196 MT. However, India ranks eighth among the top 10 grape-producing countries (Fig. 1) when considering the average production rate from 2010 to 2021. The leading grape-growing states in India are Maharashtra (70%) and Karnataka (25%), which together account for approximately 95% of the total grape production (Patil and Chavan 2023). Other grape-growing states include Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Western Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Kashmir. Recently, grape cultivation in India has gained interest owing to its high yield, export potential, and profitability (Somkuwar and Gawande, 2022). Currently, grapes are cultivated on an estimated 162,000 ha of land in India, with an annual production of 3,477,000 metric tons (MT) (DAFW, 2023). Maharashtra has the largest grape-growing area of 118,000 ha, followed by Karnataka with 35,000 ha; these states have an annual production of 2,466,000 MT and 871,000 MT, respectively (Ghule et al., 2020). Fig. 2 depicts grape production and planting trends from 2010 to 2021. India’s grape planting area has gradually increased from 111,000 ha in 2010 to 162,000 ha in 2021. The growth in the planting area was relatively consistent over the years, with few fluctuations. Notably, there was a noticeable increase in the planting area between 2017 and 2018, with an increase of 22,000 ha. Similarly, grape production in India has experienced significant growth from 1,235,000 MT in 2010 to 3,477,000 MT in 2021.

    Several grape cultivars have been used in India, with the most common being Thompson Seedless, Perlette, Kali Sahebi, Anab-e-Shahi, Bangalore Blue, Bhokri, Gulabi, and Sharad Seedless (Adsule et al., 2012). Table 1 presents numerous grape cultivars commercially grown in various states of India. Hybrid cultivars are also used in India, with the most common being Arkavati, a multi-purpose cultivar used for producing raisins and wine and a cross between “Black Champa” and “Thompson Seedless.” Arka Hans, a cross between “Bangalore Blue” and “Anab-E-Shahi,” is used for winemaking. Arka Kanchan, a late-maturing cultivar, is a cross between “Anab-E-Shahi” and “Queen of the Vineyards” and is appropriate for table use and winemaking. Arka Shyam is a cross between “Bangalore Blue” and “Black Champa” and is ideal for winemaking and table use. Arka Neel Mani, a cross between “Black Champa” and “Thompson Seedless,” is suitable for winemaking and table use. Arka Shweta, a cross between “Anab-E-Shahi” and “Thompson Seedless,” is used for table purposes and has high export potential. Arka Majestic is a cross between “Angur Kalan” and “Black Champa.” Arka Chitra, a cross between “Angur Kalan” and “Anab-E-Shahi,” has a very appealing fruit suitable for table use. Arka Krishna, a cross between “Black Champa” and “Thompson Seedless,” is suitable for juice production. Arka Soma, a cross between “Anab-E-Shahi” and “Queen of the Vineyards,” is ideal for producing white dessert wine. Arka Trishna, a cross between “Bangalore Blue” and “Convent Large Black,” is a suitable cultivar for winemaking.

    2. Kiwifruit

    1) Production and cultivars

    Kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa), known as “China's miracle fruit,” is native to China and has gained enormous popularity worldwide over the past two decades. Kiwifruit is a temperate crop primarily cultivated in temperate regions. Although the fruit originated in China, its full commercial potential has been realized in New Zealand, which currently accounts for 70% of the global trade. Nevertheless, kiwifruit cultivation has gained momentum in other countries since the 1960s, and it is now commercially produced on a large scale in the USA, Italy, China, Japan, France, Germany, and Australia. Global kiwifruit production in 2021 was 4,467,099 MT. Compared to the top 10 kiwifruit- producing countries, kiwifruit production in India is still in its nascent stage (Fig. 3).

    In India, kiwifruit was first introduced at the Lal Bagh Garden in Bengaluru in the 1960s. However, around 1963, it was observed that the fruit could be successfully cultivated in the semi-temperate climate of Himachal Pradesh (Pandey and Tripathi, 2014). Subsequently, it was broadly introduced in the northwestern Himalayan states of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttarakhand to a lesser extent. Currently, it is extensively cultivated in the northeastern Himalayan states of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and, more recently, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Manipur. Kiwifruit has considerable potential for expansion in almost all the northeastern states, except for Tripura and Assam, owing to their warmer climates. The total area under kiwifruit cultivation in India is 5,000 ha, and its production is 16,000 MT (DAFW, 2023). Fig. 4 depicts kiwifruit production and planting trends from 2011 to 2022. The planting area for kiwifruit in India gradually increased to 5000 ha in 2014 and remained consistent until 2021. Kiwifruit production in India is expected to increase from 1,000 MT in 2010 to 16,000 MT in 2021. Although the planting area remained relatively stable at 5,000 ha, production increased significantly, indicating improvements in yield, productivity, and a positive growth trajectory for kiwifruit cultivation in India.

    Arunachal Pradesh is the foremost kiwifruit producer in India, with a total area of 3,558 ha and an annual production of 7,111 MT. Other kiwi-growing states include Manipur (3,025 MT), Sikkim (2,159 MT), Nagaland (1,600 MT), Mizoram (1,030 MT), Himachal Pradesh (116 MT), and parts of West Bengal, and Jammu and Kashmir. Over the past four years, kiwifruit production in India has not increased significantly; however, it has shown a steadily increasing trend. Despite the favorable climate and soil, the lack of quality planting material, packages of organic farming practices, modern precision farming technologies, and trained labor have been identified as the major constraints to increasing the productivity of temperate fruits in general, particularly kiwifruit in particular.

    Numerous kiwifruit cultivars have been grown in India, including Allison, Abbott, Bruno, Hayward, Monty, and Tamuri. Four major cultivars are typically cultivated in Arunachal Pradesh: Allison, Bruno, Hayward, and Monty. The female cultivars were Abbott, Allison, Bruno, Hayward, and Monty, and the male cultivars were Tamuri and Allison (male). The Hayward cultivar is in high demand and is considered the most popular cultivar owing to its large size, uniform shape, and attractive color. However, regarding taste, there is little difference among the cultivars (Raja et al., 2021).

    India currently imports 75% of its domestic demand for fresh kiwifruits. Despite the huge potential and favorable climatic and soil conditions, kiwi cultivation in this region has not expanded noticeably. The data provided by the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India (SYSTEM ON INDIA's TRADE ( show that during the fiscal year 2021–2022, India imported 64,779 tonnes of kiwis from eight different countries. In the same year, the top five trading partners for kiwifruit imports were Chile (USD 27.96 million), followed by New Zealand (USD 14.22 million), Iran (USD 12.86 million), the United Arab Emirates (USD 9.21 million), and Italy (USD 4.70 million). The total value of kiwis imported from these countries was USD 70.96 million.

    3. Indian jujube/ber

    The Indian jujube (Zizyphus mauritiana Lamk.), also known as Indian ber, is an ancient and widely cultivated fruit in India. Owing to its wide adaptability, the jujube tree is cultivated throughout the country, particularly in the arid regions of the Indian subcontinent, for its fresh fruit. This fruit is commonly called the king of arid zone fruits and plays an important role in the arid and semi-arid regions of tropical and subtropical India (Meena et al., 2023). Its origins can be traced back to India, which is renowned for its resilience and thrives in challenging subtropical and tropical ecosystems. Jujube trees are recognized for their resilience and capacity to thrive under unfavorable conditions, such as salinity, drought, and waterlogging (Singh et al., 2021). It has earned the nickname “the poor man's fruit,” although grafted cultivars now command higher prices than several other fruits. Jujube cultivation as a commercial crop has gained momentum, particularly in Northern India, including Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan, owing to its potential for high yields and excellent economic returns. In arid zones, especially in Rajasthan, where it is challenging to cultivate other fruit crops because of the prevailing climate, it offers the promise of success, even under waterlogged conditions. Jujube trees are extensively prevalent in this region, surpassing other wild fruit trees. It is an ideal fruit for cultivation in the arid and semi-arid zones of Northern India because it requires minimal irrigation during the summer months of May and June when it enters dormancy by shedding its foliage. Jujube is highly nutritious and ranks among fruits with the highest vitamin C content, trailing only aonla (Emblica officinalis) and guava (Shalesh et al., 2022; Kumar et al., 2023). It is also a source of essential minerals (e.g., calcium, phosphorus, and iron) and proteins (Bal, 2014).

    In recent years, there has been a surge in interest in cultivating jujube orchards in the arid regions of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, and Rajasthan. India, with a total cultivation area of approximately 52,000 ha, is the second largest producer of jujube in the world after China. The most important states for jujube cultivation in India include Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh (Dalal et al., 2019). As of 2020–2021, the total area under jujube cultivation in India is 52,000 ha, with a production of approximately 579,000 MT (Fig. 5). The planting area of jujube in India has shown a gradual increase from 22,000 ha in 2010 to 54,000 ha in 2021. Similarly, jujube production in India grew substantially, from 188,000 MT in 2010 to 596,000 MT in 2022. These trends indicate a positive growth trajectory for jujube cultivation in the country. The increase in both the planting area and production highlights the popularity and demand for this fruit. Fluctuations in production can be attributed to various factors, such as weather conditions, market demand, and cultivation practices.

    In the Indian state of Punjab, districts such as Sangrur, Bathinda, Ferozepur, Ludhiana, Patiala, and Mukatsar are most famous for grafted jujube cultivars (Kaur et al., 2020). In terms of cultivated land area, jujube ranks fifth among fruit crops in India after citrus, guava, mangoes, and pears. Commercial jujube cultivation is common in Haryana’s districts, such as Hisar, Rohtak, Jind, Panipat, Mohindergarh, and Gurgaon. Jujube orchards in Uttar Pradesh are located in Varanasi, Aligarh, Faizabad, and Agra. In Rajasthan, they are located in Bharatpur, Jaipur, and Jodhpur. Jujube orchards in Gujarat are found in Banaskantha, Sabarmati, Bhavnagar, Surendranagar, Patan, Ahmedabad, Bharuch, Vadodara, Sabarkantha, and Mehsana. In Maharashtra, jujube cultivation is prevalent in the Solapur district. In southern India, jujube cultivation is common in districts such as Tirunelveli, Ramanathapuram, Dharmapuri, and Salem in Tamil Nadu, and Bijapur, Ballari, Kalaburgi, Belagavi, Raichur, and Bidar in Karnataka. The fruit is also popular in the West Bengal districts of Murshidabad, Malda, Bankura, and Birbhum (Bal, 2014).

    Approximately 125 jujube cultivars are currently available in India. Several of these compounds are known for their exceptional flavor, size, pulp abundance, and high yield. Umran, Kathapal, and Gola are the most promising jujube cultivars in Northern India (Solaimalai 2020). These cultivars excel in terms of flavor, size, pulp content, and yield. The introduction of jujube has substantially altered horticulture in both arid and semi-arid regions. Rain-fed jujube orchards are now prevalent across the country, indicating widespread adoption of this fruit. Notably, cultivars like “Seb” and “Oola” have gained household recognition because of their nutritional benefits, which are frequently likened to apples. These cultivars are crucial in ensuring nutritional security in rural communities because they are readily available and affordable.

    4. Strawberry

    1) Production and cultivars

    Strawberries (Fragaria vesca) are important fruit crops in India that are commercially grown in temperate and subtropical regions. It is considered a beautiful and tender fruit among the various berries. Wild species of strawberries are found worldwide. Strawberry is economically important in India as an edible fruit that is highly regarded for its flavor and is often consumed in the desert. Notably, strawberries contain a higher concentration of vitamin C than oranges or lemons. Several species of the Fragaria genus are commercially cultivated. One such plant species is Fragaria indica Andr. (Family: Rosaceae), a wild relative found in the temperate and subtropical regions of the Himalayas. It is distributed across various regions in India, including Punjab, Assam, the Khasi Hills, Western Ghats, the Nilgiris, and the Palani Hills, up to an elevation of 2,500 m above sea level. In the Central Himalayas, it grows in moist areas and along the margins of agricultural fields. F. indica produces bright red fruits (modified thalamus) in May–June, which are consumed raw by villagers. This fruit resembles the extensively cultivated strawberry (F. chiloensis) in India in terms of its content (Parmar and Kaushal, 1982). Chandler, Tioga, Torrey, Selva, Belrubi, Fern, and Pajaro are high-yield cultivars cultivated in India. Other cultivars include Premier, Red Cost, Local Jeolikot, Dilpasand, Bangalore, Florida 90, Katrain Sweet, Pusa Early Dwarf, and Blakemore. These cultivars were introduced into India from Europe and North America (Pramanick et al., 2013).

    The leading strawberry-producing countries are the USA, China, and Spain. Global strawberry production in 2021 was 9,175,384 MT. Compared to the top 10 strawberry- producing countries, strawberry production in India is very low (Fig. 6). Commercial strawberry cultivation in India occurs in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Nilgiri Hills, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, and in some parts of Rajasthan. Strawberry cultivation in India is primarily concentrated in the Nainital and Dehradun districts of Uttarakhand, Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra, Kashmir Valley, Bangalore, and Kalimpong in West Bengal. Strawberries flourish equally well in India's temperate, subtropical, and highaltitude tropical climates. Despite its appealing fruit and delightful flavor, strawberry cultivation is still in its infancy in India owing to the perishable nature of this fruit. As of 2020–2021, the total strawberry cultivation area in India was 3,031 ha, yielding approximately 19,840 MT (Fig. 7). Recently, several corporations initiated pilot projects for large-scale strawberry production.

    5. Blueberry

    1) Current status

    Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum L., Ericaceae) belong to the Ericaceae family and are considered superfoods owing to their flavor, taste, and potent antioxidant activities. Global demand for blueberries has consistently increased over the past two decades owing to their nutritional value and numerous health benefits. North America, Canada, and several European countries are meeting the demands of the global market, and India has begun cultivating blueberries in collaboration with pioneer producers. Global blueberry production in 2021 was 1,113,260 MT. Fig. 8 shows the top 10 blueberry-producing countries. However, limited data are available regarding blueberry cultivation and production in India. In recent decades, India has undertaken multiple business initiatives through partnerships with the USA, Canada, and other European countries (Anonymous 2023a).

    Blueberries were unheard of in India 20 years ago but are now routinely produced in Himachal Pradesh, near Kullu, through a partnership between Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Agriculture University, Palampur, and foreign companies (Banerjee et al., 2020). The I.G. International of India also established a joint venture with Mountain Blue of Australia called Berry Life, primarily focusing on producing and marketing blueberries in Southern and Western India (Anonymous, 2023a). Additionally, Munger Farms in the USA, the largest berry producer in the world with 1,214 ha of cultivated berries, and INI Farms in India have collaborated to meet the growing demand for blueberries in the domestic market. Their primary focus has been importing blueberries from Munger Farms (the US-based company's operations in India) and Naturipe, their partner farm. Munger Farms supply other berries and dry fruits to meet the steady demand for these products in the Indian market (Hey 2019).

    According to the US Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC), an organization representing blueberry producers and exporters in the USA, India imports approximately 2,000 MT of nutrient-rich blueberries from the USA (Anonymous 2023b). The industry expanded by approximately 30% annually. With less expensive labor than that in developed nations, India has the potential to thrive in the blueberry industry. Additionally, cold weather, mountainous regions with acidic soil in Northern India, and high demand among the Indian population create favorable conditions for large-scale cultivation of blueberries (Banerjee et al., 2020).

    A perspective on small fruit production in India

    Currently, India has a cultivation area of 216,000 ha dedicated to small fruit crops, with grape production occupying the largest share at 155,000 ha, followed by the Indian jujube at 53,000 ha. The demand for small fruit in India is proliferating. In 2022, India imported 64,779 MT of fresh kiwifruit and 2,000 MT of blueberries. Further research is needed on the production of new small fruit cultivars. Furthermore, it is important to introduce novel, small fruit species to promote the cultivation of indigenous fruit species. Breeding programs specifically designed for new fruit types, such as blueberries and kiwis, can help overcome production shortfalls. Depending on elevation, various temperate, tropical, and subtropical crops, including various fruit crops, can be grown in India. However, limited R&D initiatives focusing on small fruit production have restricted the growth and competitiveness of the industry. Increasing R&D investments in small fruit production can help develop improved varieties, cultivation practices, and pest and disease management strategies. Encouraging collaboration between research institutions, private sector organizations, and farmers can drive innovation and address knowledge gaps. Many small fruit producers lack access to updated information, technical knowledge, and modern agricultural practices. To overcome these problems, strengthening extension services and agricultural training programs can help disseminate information and provide technical assistance to small fruit producers. Collaboration between research institutions, agricultural universities, and farmers' associations can facilitate technology transfer and capacity building. Recent trends in small fruit production and research and development in India will contribute to establishing bilateral agricultural agreements between India and Korea. This will be facilitated through ongoing academic research exchanges between agricultural universities and other relevant organizations in both countries.

    적 요

    인도는 세계에서 두 번째로 큰 과일 및 채소 생산국으로, 전국적으로 다양한 소과류들이 재배되고 있습니다.

    특히 포도, 키위, 인도 대추, 딸기, 블루베리 등의 소과류 작 목이 높은 수요를 보이고 있으며, 특히 키위와 블루베리는 건 강식품에 대한 수요 증가와 관련 건강상의 이점에 대한 인식 이 높아지면서 인기를 얻고 있습니다.

    현재 인도의 소과류 생산량은 망고나 바나나와 같은 다른 과 일 작물에 비해 낮지만, 특히 북부 인도의 산지 지역, 인도의 동북부 지역, 서부 히말라야 지역 및 인도 남부의 기후 조건이 적합한 지역에서 소과류 생산에 대한 관심이 증가하고 있습니다.

    인도에서는 포도와 인도 대추라는 두 가지 유형의 소과류가 경제적으로 생산되고 있으며, 재배 면적은 포도 155,000 ha, 인도 대추 53,000 ha, 키위 5,000 ha, 딸기 3,000 ha. 순이다.


    This work was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Horticultural and Herbal Science (NIHHS) funded by the Rural Development Administration (RDA) of the Republic of Korea (PJ01454401).



    The average production of grapes in the top 10 grapeproducing countries from 2010 to 2021.


    Grape planting area and production in India from 2010 to 2021.


    The average production of kiwifruit in the top 10 producing countries from 2010 to 2021.


    Kiwifruit planting area and production in India from 2010 to 2022.


    Indian jujube/ber planting area and production in India from 2010 to 2022.


    The average production of strawberry in the top 10 strawberry-producing countries from 2010 to 2021.


    Strawberry planting area and production in India from 2010 to 2022.


    The average production of blueberries in the top 10 blueberry-producing countries from 2010 to 2021.


    Grapes cultivars grown in various states in India.


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