|Himachal Pradesh has been endowed with a wide range of agro climatic conditions due to which a large number of horticulture commodities like fruit crops (from temperate to sub tropical), flowers, vegetables, mushrooms, hops, tea, medicinal & aromatic plants etc. are successfully grown here. Amongst the fruit crops, perhaps all kind of fruits grown in the country, except those which are grown in the warm humid coastal regions, can be produced in the State. Depending upon the agroclimatic conditions and the suitability of a particular area for the growing of specific fruit crops in that area, the State is broadly divided into four agroclimatic zones as described in the table below :
Horticulture Zones in Himachal Pradesh.
||ELEVATION RANGE (meters amsl)
||SUITABLE FRUIT CROPS
||Low Hill and Valley areas near the plains
||60 - 100
||Mango, Litchi, Guava, Loquat, Citrus Fig, Ber, Papaya, Early varieties of Grapes, Jack Fruit, Banana, Low chilling varieties of Peach, Plum and Pear, Strawberry.
||Mid Hills (Sub Temperate)
||90 - 100
||Stone Fruits (Peach, Plum, Apricot, Almond), Persimmon, Pear, Pomegranate, Pecan nut, Walnut, Kiwi Fruit, Strawberry.
||High Hills and Valleys in the interiors (Temperate)
||90 - 100
||Apple, Pear (Soft), Cherry, Almond, Walnut, Chestnut, Hazel- nut, Strawberry.
||Cold and Dry Zone (Dry Temperate)
||24 - 40
||Apples, Prunes, Drying type of Apricot, Almond, Chilgoza, Pistachionut, Walnut, Hazel-nut, Grapes and Hops.
In addition to fruits, vegetable and flower cultivation is undertaken for off season supplies to the plains, while the mushroom cultivation is being taken up even by the landless for the augmentation of their income. Beekeeping is a necessary activity adjunct to the horticulture industry, which besides providing pollinating agents for improvement of fruit set and productivity, also results in the production of economic apiculture products like honey and bee wax. The horticulture industry has, therefore plays a great role in the amelioration of the rural economy of the State with respect to:
- generation of sources for cash income to the rural people,
- generation of employment opportunities in the pre and post harvest sectors of the horticulture industry,
- provision of nutritive foods in the form of fruits, vegetables, nuts, mushrooms, honey, etc.,
- satisfaction of the aesthetic needs of the people, and
- development of a sustainable system of permanent agriculture in the hilly areas.