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The horticulture industry embraces the production, processing and shipping of and the market for fruits and vegetables. As such it is a sector of agribusiness and industrialized agriculture. Industrialized horticulture sometimes also includes the floriculture industry.
Among the most important fruits are:
Important vegetables include:
In 2013, the global fruit production was estimated at 676.9 million tonnes (666,200,000 long tons; 746,200,000 short tons). Global vegetable production (including melons) was estimated at 879.2 million tonnes (865,300,000 long tons; 969,200,000 short tons) with China and India being the two top producing countries.
The horticultural value chain includes:
- Inputs: elements needed for production; seeds, fertilizers, agrochemicals, farm equipment, irrigation equipment
- Production for export: includes fruit and vegetables production and all processes related to growth and harvesting; planting, weeding, spraying, picking
- Packing and cold storage: grading, washing, trimming, chopping, mixing, packing, labeling, blast chilling
- Processed fruit and vegetables: dried, frozen, preserved, juices, pulps; mostly for increasing shelf life
- Distribution and marketing: supermarkets, small scale retailers, wholesalers, food service