Nutritional Food Security Through Organic Horticulture
Authors: Praveen Kumar Mishra*1, Ajit Kumar Dubedi Anal 2 , Mritunjay Tripathi 3 , Ramesh Kumar 2 and Shubhanjali Upadhyay 4
1Department of Horticulture (Fruit & Fruit Tech.), B.A.U., Sabour, Bhagalpur, Bihar, India 813210,
2ICAR-NRC on Litchi , Mushahari Muzaffarpur, Bihar-842002.
3Department of Biochemistry, NDUAT , Kumargang, Faizabad, Uttarpradesh - 224 229
4 College of Home Science, BHU, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India, 221005


Developing countries are facing malnutrition due to their huge population and improper food habits. Malnutrition may be due to deficiencies of any essential nutrients which required for proper functioning of healthy human body. Although horticultural crop specially fruits and vegetables being wealthy sources of macro and micronutrient like carbohydrate, protein, vitamins and minerals and its huge production can overcome the malnutrition. Mostly fruits and vegetables are produced by the farmers but their family members particularly children's are affected from essential nutrient components. Organic cultivation are sustainable, environmental friendly and nutritionally superior. Therefore a need of organic horticulture production mainly fruits and vegetables for ensuring nutritional food security. Organic production gives not only quality horticulture produce but also helps in conserve the natural resources, resolve ecological troubles with the reduction of soil, air and water pollution. The principal diet of Indian people is rice, wheat, maize and pulses but they are not sufficient to supplement of the entire nutrient which required for healthy men, women and children's. The present conventional cultivation of horticultural crops is fulfilling our requirement up to certain levels but their quality not up to the mark due to improper fertilization, spray of herbicide, insecticide and pesticide on fruits and vegetables. Therefore, in final produce have some residual effect and if intake of such produce by anyone then it is harmful for health and also cause several chronic diseases. So far good health of every citizen of India, the quality produce with balance ratio is required. That is why, organically cultivated horticultural crop especially fruits and vegetables are incorporate in his daily diet because organically produce fruit and vegetables are nutritionally more beneficial for human health due to containing higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Fruits and vegetables are the excellent nutrient source of vitamins, minerals and other fruits (banana and avocado) and tuber vegetable (potato and sweet potato) have good amount of carbohydrate while these nutrients are lacking in cereals and pulses and only rich in carbohydrate and protein. Organic horticulture production is principally required healthy soil because healthy soil can produce healthy food and healthy nation. So the farmer community should be focused on leading horticultural cash crops for organic cultivation and overcome malnutrition globally.


Nutritional food security is an important issue for gaining sustainable growth and development in India. Nutritional food security can be built on three pillars i.e. food availability, food access & food use. Because nutrition is a major factor in bringing out the maximum potential of any individual both physical as well as mental. Good nutrition depends on an adequate food supply and it only can be possible through the sound agricultural policies, well organized food distribution systems by the government for poor families. Quality of life is associated with having enough good food with the full of diversity to eat. Due to the market pressures and consumer demands, fast food have reduced food choices so drastically that many people are feeding on just a few staples & horticultural produces like fruits & vegetables. Fruits & Vegetables occupy an important place in daily diet of vegetarians due to its palatability and nutritive values. Fruits & Vegetables combat under nourishment and are known to be cheapest source of natural protective tool.

Malnutrition is a worldwide problem of both developed and developing countries and it mainly due to the excessive increasing population, less food grains productivity, low income and several other social, cultural and economical factors also. It predisposes to illness, disease infection and immunity reduction very drastically. A malnutrition problem becomes more dangerous in developing Asian and African countries. Malnutrition's have various forms such as hidden hunger, Protein Energy Malnutrition (PEM) shows in skin and bones, malnutrition people may become visible externally healthy but not internally strong. Hidden hunger looks like disorder due to lacking of essential vitamins and minerals in daily food menus while at the same time it is engrossed by the body. Hidden hunger of the person only can be solved by the use of micronutrients. PEM is macronutrient deficiency disease and their mild and moderate levels diagnosed on the basis of anthropometry, by using measurement of weight and height while severe PEM in children may lead to both edema with severe underweight. Malnutrition alarming to all hunger countries for surveying in own country which nutrients are deficient at which place and then appropriate action should be taken for overcome this problem. In our country, mainly women and children's are affected from several diseases of malnutrition and one third children are born less body weight and near about 60 per cent children's affected from anemia. Malnutrition problems are seen mainly in poor and lower income families.

The umbrella of malnutrition gives rise to vicious cycle infections.

Low intake of fruits and vegetables
Under nutrition {repeated incidence of nutrition related diseases & infection}
Stunted development of children
Small body size of adults
Impaired productivity
Low earning capacity

The international conferences on nutrition (ICN) and World Food Summit (WFS) organized in 1992 and 1996 respectively and highlighted on basic need of human is right to sufficient food for their healthy life. The food security means to the nourishment of particulars from both macro- and micronutrients which are essential to the healthy human body (FAO/WHO, 1992). Nutritional security means of consumption and physiological use of appropriate amounts of safe and nutritious food to each and every people to make them an active, stronger, healthier and productive. Malnourished people may not be productive as nourished people and their full potential and capacities cannot be harnessed by their respective state and country. The nutritional level of adults is typically measured by using body mass index (BMI) which is calculated as weight (kg) over height (m2). When the adults BMI are less than 18.5 kg/m2 then it deliberated to suffer from chronic energy deficiency while more than 25 kg/m2 shows overweight. Average BMI is almost same in both males and females adults. Approximately 50% Indian populations BMI is less than 18.5 kg/m2 while only 2.6 % men and 4.1 % women were found overweight (NIN, 1993).

India is a leading producer of food grains and second largest producer of fruits and vegetables after china but due to the more population and less productivity it unable to fulfill the people requirement. Some people are very poor and they cannot able to purchase of fruits, vegetables which is nutritionally rich although these people totally dependent on food grains and the food grains are not nutritionally rich. Food grains mainly contain carbohydrate and protein while fruits and vegetables are containing vitamins, mineral and amino acids. So malnutrition cannot be eradicated through grains and pulses. Whereas a balance diet are requires all essential components like carbohydrate, protein, vitamins, minerals and others. Fruits and vegetables are called protective food because of the abundant essential micronutrients (vitamins, natural antioxidants and minerals) and these nutrients are help in improvement of immunity, metabolic process, physically and mentally stronger with retaining fitness and continue living of human organs. According to Indian Council Medical Research (ICMR) our daily requirement of fruits is 120g and vegetables 280g (100g leafy, 100g fruit and 80 g root vegetables). Now a day's India is self sufficient in food grains, fruit and vegetables but their quality is not up to the mark just because of conventional farming, imbalance fertilization and sprays of herbicide, insecticide and pesticide. So by the using of various new technologies in horticulture like integrated management of nutrient disease and pest, organic cultivation through biological resources, kitchen garden, minimum and zero tillage, high density planting (HDP), bio-fertilization, fertigation, drip irrigation and improved cultivars can intensify the fruits and vegetables production many fold throughout India and abroad.

By the conventional method, fruits and vegetables can obtain by using of chemical fertilizers, insecticide and pesticides. The widely use of these chemicals for longer duration can have effect the nutritional constituents of fresh fruit and vegetables. Several scientists were also reported that organically cultivated fruits and vegetables achieve more vitamin C, phosphorus, magnesium and iron and significantly low nitrates against conventionally grown crops. Any type of nitrogenous fertilizers affects the levels of nitrates, vitamin C along with quality and quantity of produced protein by the plants. The increasing levels of nitrogen fertilizers can also increase the protein content and decrease the carbohydrate yield but vitamin C synthesized through carbohydrate that is why, vitamin C synthesis is also decreased. Due to the increased nitrogen level, certain essential amino acid for example lysine contains lesser quantity and quality on nutrition point of view. If the nitrogenous compound is more in the plant than it can be manage by protein production as well as the surplus is accumulated as nitrates, which is dangerous for mankind. Likewise the potassium fertilizer may also affect the absorption of phosphorus and magnesium and thus minimize the phosphorus and magnesium level in the plants. Apart from these concerns, organically grown horticultural produces are nutritionally outstanding because such produces contain higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids in comparison to chemically grown produces. Therefore, organic fruits and vegetables production can avail quality produce and it also ensures nutritional food security.

Important constituents for nutritional security

Sustainable nutritional food security can be obtained only by the supply of wide range of healthy and balanced nutrients in appropriate amount in daily diet of every people at global level. The essential constituents for nutritional security are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fibres, vitamins and minerals. All these nutrients are available prominently in fruit and vegetable, so further these nutrients importance are explained below in prospect of nutritional food security of the human being.


Carbohydrates are a group of energy producing materials like starch, cane sugar, glucose, fructose etc. In Indian diet, cereals are the main and cheapest source of energy. Mainly grains, roots and tubers crops are wealthy source of starch. Some fruits and vegetables are also rich in carbohydrates. The carbohydrates are converting in simplest sugar in human body and provide power, energy in calories for proper functioning of healthy body. Fruits like banana, avocado, date, sapota, mango, guava, jackfruit etc. and vegetables such as potato, sweet potato, sugar beet, radish, peas etc. are the excellent source of carbohydrates (Table 1&3).


Protein is an important nutritional element for human body and its primary function is provides amino acids for body building. It also helps in maintenance of damaged cells and tissues and many others activities of the body. Protein can be obtained through fruits such as cashew, almond, walnut, pistachio nut etc. and vegetables like peas, cowpea, Indian bean, amaranths etc. are the wealthy source of protein (Table 1&3).

Total fats

Fats are the concentrated sources of energy obtaining essential fatty acids, which work as like vitamins in the body. In daily diet, fat is an important component for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins similar to vitamin A, because essential fatty acids are too vital for cells structure and function. The vegetable oils are source of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids which helps in regulating of blood cholesterol. An adult human diet fatty material should be than80g/day. Generally, fruits and vegetables are not rich sources of fats but some fruits have wealthy source of fats like walnut (64.50%), almond (58.90%), cashew nut (46.90%) and avocado (22.80%).

Food fibres

The dietary fibres are containing non-digestible carbohydrates such as cellulose, hemi cellulose, lignin, pectin and gums. The digestible fibres are necessary part of our diet for elimination of organ waste. Mostly food related problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart related diseases can be reduced through food fibres but if lacking of sufficient amount of dietary fibre in daily diet then it leads to colon cancer. Fibres are mainly two types, one is water soluble and another is water insoluble. The food fibres are not digested by stomach and small intestine enzymes but it adds bulkiness in diet and enhance transit period in their burning. Mainly food fibres are binds the bile salts and avoid their re absorption. Fruits and vegetables are the excellent source of food fibres and it can be obtained easily with their use. Several fruits such as guava, kaintha, pomegranate, aonla, grape, walnut etc. (Table1) and vegetables like amaranths, mustard, beet leaf, spinach etc. are rich in fibres. An adult should incorporate at least 40g of dietary fibre in daily food habit for better digestion along with prevention from constipation problems.


The vitamins play an integral task in the controlling of metabolic activities of human body. The requirement of vitamins to the human body is very tiny quantity. Mostly vitamins are two types, first is water soluble (Vitamin B-complex and vitamin C) and second fat soluble (Vitamin A, D, E and K). The surplus use of vitamin A and D may be poisonous. Fruits and vegetables are the key supply of pro-vitamin A, vitamin B, C, E and folic acid. The pro-vitamin A can be freely transformed in to vitamin A in human body. Approximately 60% vitamin A and 90% vitamin C need in human diet is gained by fruit and vegetables.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is an imperative vitamin for human being because it mainly required during pregnancy, lactation and growth of eyes, skin and body. Due to the deficiency of this vitamin directs to night blindness and it is broadly widespread in between six month to six year children in our nation. Actually yellow colour pigments of fruit and vegetables are known as carotenes and the carotenes are known as pro-vitamin A. Vitamin A is found in the form of ß-carotene in fruits and vegetables. The fruits like mango, papaya, pineapple, banana, guava, date, jackfruit etc. and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins, sugar beet, tomato, green leafy vegetables etc. are the wealthy source of vitamin A (Table 1&3). The daily need of vitamin A for an adult is calculated near about 750µg equivalent to 2500 IU (1 IU – 0.3 µg vitamin A). Therefore on a daily basis ß-carotene should be used approximately 3000 µg. A tiny loss of ß-carotene occurs during normal cooking of vegetables but if we can take as fresh green vegetables then it is the best way to consume of ß-carotene. 30-50g green leafy vegetable, 100g mango, 200g papaya can fulfil the particular daily need of vitamin A.

Vitamin B- complex

The main vitamins in this group are thiamine, riboflavin pyridoxine, nicotinic acid, pentothanic acid, folic acid, vitamin B-12 etc. Thiamine (vitamin B-1) is a main vitamin in this group and their deficiency cause "Beriberi" disease and when the lacking of vitamin prolongs then it escorts to weakness and at last heart failure. Due to lacking of this vitamin also cause appetite, reduce body weight and several others problems. This vitamin is also help in body growth, development and generation increasing activities. The riboflavin (vitamin B-2) is a fraction of co-enzyme and important for various oxidation process inside the cell with protein metabolism. The daily requirement of riboflavin is varies from 0.7 to 2.2 mg and the excellent source of this vitamin is specially green leafy vegetables and fruits like custard apple, banana and avocado. Folic acid is another vital vitamin of this group needed for reproduction and maturation of red cells. The each day need varies from 50-100 ug but its levels increased up to 150-300 ug during pregnancy. Overall the deficiencies of this vitamin group in the human body can be overcome by fruit and vegetables. Some fruits like cashew nut, walnut, apricot dry, bael, papaya, litchi etc. and vegetables such as chillies, colocasia leaves, tomato (red), fenugreek leaves, amaranths etc. are the rich source of vitamin B complex (Table 1&3).

Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)

Vitamin C is really important nutrient for human being due to its antioxidant capacity. It is an actively reducing agent and it absorbed in collagen synthesis, teeth and bone calcification. Its deficiency causes scurvy disease and which symptom showed with the poor health, bleeding gums and imperfect bone growth. It also helps in removing of free radicals and absorption of food iron through its reduced form. When cut fruits and vegetables are exposed in air then most of the available vitamins are destroyed. Ascorbic acid is broadly produced through plant foods, particularly in fresh fruits and vegetables. The various fruit like barbados cherry (1000-4000mg/100g), aonla (600mg/100g), guava (299mg/100g), lime (63mg/100g), sweet orange (50mg/100g) etc. are the excellent source of vitamin C in which aonla and guava are easily and cheaply available in market. The fresh aonla juice contains 20 times more vitamin C as orange juice. An individual aonla fruit is equivalent to 2-3 oranges in terms of vitamin C. Aonla juice is highly acidic and its vitamin C is not destroyed even after heating and drying due to presence of pantethonic acid. Several vegetables such as drumstick leaves, coriander leaves, chillies, tomato etc. are also rich source of vitamin C (Table 3).


Minerals are an essential component of nutrition because human body is also containing a big number of mineral nutrients. Some minerals are playing significant role in structural component of body and enzyme system. These mineral nutrients are phosphorus, iron, calcium and magnesium moreover among them iron is a main constituent of food. Potassium and sodium are absorbed by the body for safeguarding of water and electrolyte balance. A mean value of humans emit approximately 20-30g mineral salt per day which consisting potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, chlorides, phosphate and sulphates. So these losses must be maintained through eating appropriate amount of mineral salts at regular basis. The requirements of various necessary mineral predominantly are more for proper growth and development of infants and children.

Calcium is an important component facilitated for construction and repairing of teeth and skeleton. It plays key role in normal cell contraction to build limb go, keeping normal heartbeat, blood clotting and nervous activity of the human body. The green leafy vegetables are the chief source of calcium (Table 3). Fruit, such as prunus, almond and pumpkin seed are containing high level of calcium and several other fruits also rich in calcium (Table 1). Calcium requirement is more for growing bones of children, pregnancy and lactating mothers. During this period both woman and their infants need more calcium for the foolproof health. The daily calcium requirement for adults and children is varies from 0.4 to 0.6g per day.


Iron is also an essential element for the construction of haemoglobin red blood cells and help in transportation of oxygen in all body organs. It is required for several oxidation-reduction reactions in the tissues. The iron deficiency causes anaemia and it characterized by lower haemoglobin levels in blood. Particularly the pregnant ladies should be taken iron rich fruit and vegetables as well as medicinal iron, in the form of iron salts. Fortification of common salt with iron was found successfully effective to overcome of iron deficiency in our nation. The requirement of iron to the body is very less but due their essentiality the iron rich fruits and vegetables demand is so high. The wealthy source of iron contents are green leafy vegetables. As for as iron rich fruits is concern, the excellent source of iron are dry karonda (39.1%), pind date (10.6%), cashew nut (5%) and walnut (4.80%) and some others fruit have also iron content (Table 1). In case of green leafy vegetables like agathi (83.9 mg/100g), amaranthus tender (25.5 mg/100g) and coriander leaves (1.5mg/100g) as well as other vegetables content showed in (Table 3).


The antioxidants are mainly phytochemicals and secondary metabolites available in human diet, which is neutralize the harmful free radicals produced in the body.

Increased levels of free radicals can be harmful to cell and due to these free radicals give cellular dysfunction and diseases. A dietary antioxidant is material in diet which is significantly reduces the adverse effect of reactive oxygen species (ROS) or reactive nitrogen species or both on normal physiological function in human. The regular use of antioxidant rich fruit and vegetables enhance the immune system of human. The important natural antioxidants nutrients are phenol, flavonoids and polyphenols, carotenoids, vitamin C, tocoferol and selenium. Among them vitamin C is the cheapest, safest and excellent source of antioxidants. The major sources of natural antioxidants are fruits and vegetable in human diet. The defensive mechanisms of humans are not cent percent competent, thus at that time nutritional antioxidants are potentially vital in reducing oxidative damage. The antioxidant capacities of some important fruits are given by the using of free radical scavenging assay (Table 2).


Nutritional food security is necessary for all the people of India and world level, since without healthy atmosphere quality fruits and vegetables cannot be obtained. Organic cultivation are sustainable, environmental friendly and nutritionally superior. So left the conventional system of farming and opt organic farming for receiving qualitative and nutritive produces. Fruits and vegetables being wealthy sources of macro and micronutrient like carbohydrate, protein, vitamins and minerals and its huge production can overcome the malnutrition globally. Organically grown fruits and vegetables have higher amount of nutrients as comparison to conventionally produced fruits and vegetables. That is why, a need of organic horticulture production mainly fruits and vegetables for ensuring nutritional food security.

Table1- Nutritional and medicinal values of important fruits (per100g edible portion)

Fruits Carbohydrate (g) Protein (g) Fibre (g) Vit. A (IU) Vit. B1 (mg) Vit. C (Mg) Calcium (Mg) Iron (mg)
Mango 17.00 0.51 1.80 3894 0.058 27.7 10 0.40
Banana 23.43 1.03 2.40 81 0.045 12.0 6 0.3-0.6
Pineapple 12.39 0.39 1.20 23 0.092 15.4 7 0.37
Papaya 9.81 0.61 1.80 1750 0.027 61.8 24 0.10
Guava 11.88 1.00 5.40 792 0.050 183.5 20 0.31
Sapota 19.96 0.44 5.30 60 0.000 14.7 21 0.80
Jackfruit 24.01 1.47 1.60 297 0.030 6.7 34 0.60
Litchi 16.53 0.83 1.30 - 0.011 71.5 5 0.31
Grapes 17.77 0.66 1.00 73 0.092 10.8 11 0.26
Avocado 7.39 1.98 5.00 612 0.108 7.9 11 1.02
Aonla 13.70 0.50 3.40 91 0.030 600 50 1.20
Ber 17.00 0.80 - 70 0.020 76 4 0.50
Pomegranate 17.17 0.95 0.60 - 0.030 6.1 3 0.30
Custard apple 23.50 1.60 3.10 - 0.070 37 17 1.50
Fig 19.18 0.75 3.30 142 0.060 2 35 0.37
Phalsa 14.70 1.30 1.20 698 - 22 129 3.10
Jamun 15.56 0.72 0.90 3 0.006 14.3 19 0.19
Lime 10.54 0.70 2.8 10 0.030 63 33 0.60
Lemon 9.32 1.10 2.8 29 0.040 53 26 0.60
Orange 11.75 0.94 2.4 205 0.087 53.2 40 0.10

(Source: USDA National nutrient Database for Standard Reference)
Table 2 antioxidant capacity (in term of ascorbic acid equivalents) of various important fruits using free radical scavenging assay

Fruits AEAC (mg/100g) Fruits AEAC (mg/100g)
Guava 270 Mango 139
Grape (seedless) 264 Lemon 93.3
Avocado 143 Pineapple 85.6
Orange 142 banana 48.3
Papaya (solo) 141 - -

AEAC= Ascorbic acid equivalent antioxidant capacity
(Source: Leong, L.P. et al (2002), Food Chemistry, 76, p.69-75)
Table3- Nutritional and medicinal values of important vegetables (per100g edible portion)

Vegetables Protein (g) Carbohydrate (g) Calcium (mg) Iron (mg) Carotene (mg) Thiamine (mg) Vitamin C (mg)
Amaranths 4.00 6.10 397.00 25.50 5520.00 0.03 99.00
Spinach 3.40 6.50 380.00 16.20 5862.00 0.26 70.00
Fenugreek 4.40 6.00 395.00 16.50 5862.00 0.26 70.00
Cabbage 1.80 4.60 39.00 1.80 1200.00 0.06 124.00
Drumstick leaf 1.80 4.60 395.00 16.50 2340.00 0.04 52.00
Mint 4.80 6.00 200.00 15.60 1620.00 0.05 27.00
Turnip 1.70 5.80 18.00 1.00 - 0.04 10.00
Onion 1.20 8.80 47.00 0.70 - 0.08 11.00
Radish 0.70 11.10 35.00 0.40 3.00 0.06 15.00
Sweet potato 1.20 3.40 46.00 0.80 6.00 0.08 11.00
Bitter gourd 1.60 28.20 20.00 1.60 126.00 0.07 88.00
Tomato 0.90 3.60 48.00 0.40 351.00 0.12 27.00
Brinjal 1.40 4.20 18.00 0.90 74.00 0.04 12.00
Cauliflower 2.60 4.00 30.00 1.50 30.00 0.04 56.00
Caw pea 3.50 8.10 72.00 2.50 564.00 0.07 14.00
Drumstick 2.50 3.70 30.00 5.30 110.00 0.05 120.00
French bean 1.70 4.50 50.00 1.70 132.00 0.08 24.00
Okra 1.90 6.40 66.00 1.50 52.00 0.07 13.00
Pea 7.20 15.90 20.00 1.50 83.00 0.25 9.00
Pumpkin 1.40 4.60 10.00 0.70 50.00 0.05 2.00
Ridge gourd 0.50 3.40 18.00 0.50 33.00 - 5.00
Snake gourd 0.50 3.30 26.00 0.30 96.00 0.04 -
Potato - - 10.00 0.40 24.00 - 17.00

(Source: Nath, V. et al. (2012) Udyan Vizyan Ke Maulik Sidhanta Bhag-1: Phal Vizyan, SSPH, Delhi, pp. 7-8.)


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