Rajasthan with its huge geographical area of 342 lakhs ha. has attained the status of being largest state of India. The state represents 10.4% of the total land mass with 5.5% population of the country, but it has hardly 1% of total national water resources. 57% of state consists of desert which makes 61% of the desert of India. The rainfall is highly inadequate (average annual rainfall is 575 mm) and variable both in time (3 out of 5 years are drought year) and quantum (23.55 cm to 99.9 cm). Arid and semiarid areas cover two-third area of the State and soils are sandy having low water holding capacity, high infiltration rate and shallow in depth in some areas. Due to scarcity of rainfall in arid and semi arid areas, there is limited availability of ground water. Despite heavy public investment on surface irrigation projects only 32% of gross cropped area receives irrigation either by cannel or wells and 68% area is rain fed.
The salient features of Horticulture in Rajasthan are summarized below:
• 90% of the rainfall is received during monsoon season. In addition to spatial variation there is much variation in yearly pattern in rainfall.
• Mango, Aonla, Pomegranate, Guava, Santra,Kinnu, Ber and Malta are the main horticulture fruits.
• 90% nurseries are registered in the state.
• 142964 hectare drip are installed in the state up to 2014-15.
• The fruit like Kinnow & Santra were exported to the countries Srilanka, England, Malaysia & Dubai similarly spices crops like Coriander & Ajwain including Cumin & Fenugreek were exported to the countries Srilanka & Dubai, respectively in addition to the above medicinal crops Sonamukhi, Mehandi, & Kalonji were exported to Dubai.
As far as scenario of horticulture in the State is concerned, it is full of potential as the diverse agro-climatic conditions are very much favoring growing of large number of horticultural crops like fruits, vegetables, spices, flowers and medicinal & aromatic plants through out the year. It is only 1989, when separate department of horticulture came into existence with ultimate objective of harnessing the potential of horticulture in the State in a systematic and planned manner so as to increase area, production and productivity of different horticultural crops and there by to improve nutritional as well as economic status of people of State. As a result during 2014-15, about 14.48 lakhs ha area is reported to be under horticultural crops against gross cropped area of 260 lakhs ha. This includes 0.39 lakh ha under fruit crops, 1.54 lakhs ha under vegetable crops 8.51 lakhs ha under spices crops, 0.03 lakh under flowers and 4.00 lakhs ha area under medicinal & aromatic crops which comes to about 5.57% of gross cropped area. As far as production of these crops is concerned, it is 7.35 lakhs MT in fruits,14.33, 6.09,0.04 & 1.51 lakhs MT in vegetables, spices, flowers and medicinal & aromatic crops respectively.