Vegetable vendors sell a combination of products, but more of commonly preferred vegetables than of indigenous varieties.
Photo: Sangeetha Rajeesh


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Growing indigenous vegetables is on the decline in India – despite increases in vegetable production as a whole. Experts fear that this could have disastrous consequences for the population’s food situation.

According to the Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (IIVR), the country has produced 146.5 million tonnes of vegetables (including roots and tubers) during 2010 – 2011, placing India second globally. Given that Indian vegetable production is threatened by climate change, dwindling natural resources, uneven growth as well as unequal nutritional richness across the country, National Horticulture Board schemes appear to have concentrated more on the development and management of commercial horticulture rather than on encouraging sustainable cultivation of indigenous vegetables. More and more organisations are warning against the negative impacts that this could have on the population’s food situation.
The Asian Vegetable Research and Development Centre (AVRDC) began to work in India in 2006. Its current projects include improving vegetable production and consumption for sustainable rural livelihoods in Jharkhand and Punjab; as well as looking at the possibility of exploiting bitter gourd (Momordica charantia L.) to increase incomes, manage type 2 diabetes, and promote health.

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