Horticulture has a vital role in our food chain. It’s the major source of fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants. Moreover, it’s the most sustainable way to add value to our lives. In this article, we will learn why horticulture is important for our society.
Whether its your physical and mental well-being or environmental benefits. Horticulture is crucial for enhancing our quality of life. Besides, it’s a great way for marginal growers to maximize their profits per square foot. As a result, it’s a huge boost to the economy.
The well-being of a country is heavily influenced by its horticulture industry. After all, a healthy source of nutrition is a basic human necessity. More importantly, a country’s ability to provide for the nation reduces dependence on other countries.
Ultimately, horticulture is the efficient and practical use of resources to increase yield. That’s exactly why horticulture is important. What’s more, it helps raise awareness of a healthy diet through nutritious fruits and vegetables.
As more and more people learn about its health benefits, the industry grows faster. And so does the need for food security. Besides food, it also adds aesthetic value through gardens and green spaces. An interesting fact is that it does so in the most practical and sustainable way.
Since the industry produces a wide range of produce, it supports many skilled professionals. From specialist growers, inspectors, retailers, regulatory authorities to suppliers and equipment distributors. Indeed, there are many tasks that a Horticulturist can perform.
In fact, its contribution to health and wellbeing as well as towards the environment is truly remarkable. As the industry grows, it slows down the effects of climate change. While also providing opportunities for horticulture professionals and businesses.
What makes horticulture so important?
Even though the value of agricultural sector is much higher than horticulture. The value per unit of horticultural produce is much higher than agricultural crops.
This is because agriculture focuses on staple crops and recycled value. It also consists of animal farming. For instance, fertilizers and compost used for growing crops are consumed by poultry animals to produce meat, milk and eggs.
Horticulture on the other hand, creates value through high-value crops. In other words, the crop yield and quality are much better than regular crops. And so is their nutritional value. Hence, horticulture is vital for the economy due to its productivity instead of size.
The competitive nature of the industry demands for innovation, market focus, efficiency and flexibility. Notably, the major challenge is postharvest rather than the growth. That’s why many businesses are located near the urban areas to reduce logistics and postharvest costs.
Moreover, this encourages crop growth based on consumer demand. Most horticulture produce have limited shelf life. As a result, growers need to understand the demand before they start planting.
Why it’s important to consider Horticulture demands?
Growers need to design a supply schedule of delivery periods. Besides, they also need to estimate the amount of produce to meet consumer demands. Especially, if the grower is dealing with a major retailer.
As a result, the growers and retailers can
- Improve efficiency
- Reduce waste
- Plan and estimate better
- Fulfil consumer demand with a guarantee
Another important factor that growers need to consider is that some plants take longer to grow. Especially, the hardy ornamental plants. Such plants may take many months or even years to grow.
For instance, it takes over 18 months to grow shrubs. Whereas, a tree may take at least 3 years. That’s exactly why growers need to predict future needs and plan growth accordingly.
But fear not, industry experts and market reports help make these decisions. Most growers learn about the market and adapt to the ever-changing consumer demands.
The reports feature trends and consumer buying habits for various crops or plants. As a result, growers have developed techniques that allow them to supply crops year-round.
If you’re a grower, try to plan your crops based on consumer purchases and their profiles. Sometimes, you may find that demand for certain crops is more than the supply. And this is how many businesses have grown significantly.
How does Horticulture add value?
Essentially, it helps the environment as well as our physical and mental wellbeing. As the demand for quality organic produce grows, the industry continues to flourish. Its equally important to raise awareness on the importance of horticulture in our lives. Naturally, it plays a vital role in the industry’s growth in the following ways:
Notably, horticulture produce like fruits and vegetables are full of nutrition. And locally grown produce shows a nation’s prosperity and self-reliance. More importantly, food security is a measure of the availability and easy access to food
Fruits and vegetables are a great source of nutrition. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins and fibre which is good for digestion. Since ancient eras, plants play a huge role in our lives. From providing food and shelter to natural healing with herbs and ornamental plants.
Evidently, its nutritional, medicinal and aesthetic value is what makes horticultural produce very profitable. At the same time, it helps in economic growth. Especially, in the suburban and rural areas where they are grown.
Many developing countries heavily rely on horticulture to improve their economy with exports. This in turn increases food security of a nation.
Most of the horticulture crops are cash crops. Unlike agricultural crops like pulses and cereals, the profit per square foot is much higher.
Moreover, the demand for high nutrition crops has increased significantly with rapid rise in population. As a result, it takes up an important place in the green industry. And this is what makes the industry grow with rising profits.
Horticulturists that deal with high-value crops regularly earn more than those growing other crops. Besides, it’s a great alternative to agriculture and to diversify income.
Generally, export of high value produce brings foreign exchange to the country. Which in turn improves the economy of a country. In the end, it’s a win-win situation for everyone in the industry.
Another key point, horticulture supports a wide range of industries such as:
- Seed producers
- Agricultural Suppliers
- Equipment and tools Manufacturers
- Post-harvest operations like canning and preservation
- Retailers like nurseries or greenhouses
- Education and Research
- Medical practitioners relying on medicinal plants
And many others who may be directly or indirectly involved.
It creates more employment
The green industry creates lots of opportunities for job seekers and business owners. As we saw above, there are a lot more industries associated with horticulture. And that’s what creates more jobs.
From the time a seed is sown to its post-harvest activities, there’s room for a lot of skilled professionals. For more details, read my article ‘What does a horticulturist do?’
Aesthetic value of Horticulture
Flowers and ornamental plants have great aesthetic value. And this makes them useful in gardens and landscaping. At the same time, it helps improve the environment and air quality.
Just taking a walk in a garden or any other green spaces has amazing health benefits. What better way to admire the beauty of nature? Indeed, we share an ancient bond with plants.
Besides, it also provides relaxation and stress relief. What’s more, in some countries certain plants hold religious importance. Such as banana or mango leaves, bamboo stems and wood.
Horticulture encourages a healthy diet
With a large variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs and other plants. Indeed, horticulture provides vital nutrients for a balanced and healthy diet. Eating them improves our health by making us resistant to diseases.
Evidently, studies show that a diet lacking fruits and vegetables is bad for health and prone to illnesses. And if that’s not enough, some plants are also used as a natural healing medicine for diseases.
Better quality of life
Notably, landscaping and gardens also involve horticulture. Research shows that just looking at plants has a peaceful and relaxing effect on the viewer. Essentially, providing a better quality of life with an improved environment and air quality.
Besides, it also creates jobs for those in landscaping. Not only viewing plants, but consuming plant produce like fruits and vegetables enrich our diets. Even more, growing and taking care of plants is a good exercise and a therapeutic activity.
Challenges in horticulture
In terms of nutrition, horticulture is important in our lives. Besides, there is always room for innovation and technology advancements in the industry. Primarily, horticulture presents three challenges:
- Innovations and Technology: Because of its complex nature, there will always be unique and innovative solutions to challenges. Over the past few years, there have been amazing technological advancements in the industry. It helps improve crop yield and quality which in turn increases profits.
- Gender equality: Its very common for women to work in the Horticulture industry. Often you will find women growing produce like fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants. However, they may not have access to markets, land, resources and education. Addressing these issues helps improve gender equality in the industry.
- Education and Research: Knowledge of special equipment, tools and techniques leads to success in the industry. Since there’s always something innovative, you will have a lot to learn. And the ease of adapting to new technologies is key in the industry. For sustainable growth, its vital to have access to the latest news in the industry. Moreover, many growers do their own research to find new ways of improving growth.
I hope you enjoyed this article and are inspired to take up Horticulture as a career or a hobby. Feel free to share your views in the comments section below.