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Horticulture may be broadly defined as the Science and art of growing fruits, vegetables, flowers, crops like spices, condiments and other plantation crops.
It is a science of cultivation of Garden plants.
The word Horticulture in derived from the Latin word Hortus meaning enclosure (garden) and culture - meaning, cultivation. Thus Horticulture means culture or cultivation of garden crops.
Horticulture is divided into four branches.
Floriculture: the science of production and utilization of ornamental plants.
Olericulture: the science of production and utilization of vegetable crops
Pomology: the science of production and utilization of fruit crops
Landscape horticulture: beautification and protection of the environment.
Horticultural crops include:
· Tree, bush, perennial vine fruits, Perennial bush and tree nuts;
· Vegetables (roots, tubers, shoots, stems, leaves, fruits and flowers of edible and mainly annual plants)
· Aromatic and medicinal foliage, seeds and roots (from annual or perennial plants);
· Cut flowers, potted ornamental plants, and bedding plants (involving both annual or perennial plants); and
· Trees, shrubs, turf and ornamental grasses propagated and produced in nurseries for use in landscaping or for establishing fruit orchards or other crop production units.
Although, some crops can be classified as either horticultural or agronomic depending on its usage. For example, there are soybean cultivars suitable for fresh consumption and grown intensively in market gardens, especially in Asian countries, but soybeans are more commonly grown extensively as a field crop for oil and protein production.
Sometimes the horticultural plant is used by an animal to produce the crop. Honey is a good example and is often considered to be a horticultural product. Raw silk is produced by silkworms feeding on mulberry trees (which also produce an edible fruit) but silk is not a horticultural crop. In Canada both honey and maple syrup are classed as horticultural crops. Cultivated or gathered mushrooms (edible fungi) are most often classed as horticultural crops.
Horticultural products include all products, raw or processed, that arise from the horticultural industry. Products which are sent to the market while still respiring i.e. Fresh produce are clearly horticultural products. Products which have undergone processing such as canned, dried, juiced, sliced are referred to as horticultural product. However, when a horticultural product becomes a major ingredient of another manufactured item the categorization becomes more complex. Thus, when apples are used to make apple pie or yogurt is fortified with fruit, the product can be considered both a horticultural product and a bakery or dairy product
The term vegetable is used to describe any part of a crop (edible shoot, leaves, fruits and root of plants) that are consumed whole or in part, raw or cooked. There are several characteristics in this definition a more, a clearer description will entails pointing out the difference between fruits and vegetables.
Difference between Fruits and Vegetables:
As per botany, a fruit is the part of the plant that develops from a flower. Technically, it is the swollen ovaries of the plant. It also contains the seeds of the plants and is responsible for disseminating seeds. Botanists consider any parts of the plant, other than the fruit, to be a vegetable[i]. This includes the stalks, leaves, roots, tubers, bulbs, and even the flower bud.
Fruits are consumed a fresh without cooking eg. Banana, apple, guava while vegetables are consumed a fresh as salad and also after cooking few are eaten both way fresh and after cooking e.g. tomato, onion, cucumber. etc.
Nutritionally, many fruits and vegetables are similar. They have lower calorie and fat counts. Fruits and vegetables are also generally high in fiber content.
The main problem while differentiating between fruits and vegetables is that there are two ways of doing it. The official way is to categorize them as per the definition in botany.
However, many people categorize fruits and vegetables according to the taste, as whether it is sweet or savory. Fruits like apple, peach, pear, kiwifruit, watermelon and mango, which are sweet in taste and often eaten as snack or dessert are classified as fruits, whereas fruits such as tomatoes, which is savory are clubbed with vegetables.
Global Fruit & Vegetable Industry[ii]
The world fruit and vegetable market is expected to exceed $735 billion by 2015, representing 25% growth over five years. By 2015, the market is predicted to reach over 690 million tons in volume, up 5% compared with 2010. Exports of fruit and vegetables generate around $45 billion, reports the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The global fruit and vegetable market is concentrated, with the 50 top companies accounting for 70% of revenue. The industry includes goods under various forms like canned, frozen, concentrated and dehydrated products. Fruit and vegetables are processed to make juices, jams, chutneys, pickles and jellies. Vegetables represent almost 65% of the overall market, according to research from MarketLine.