India’s Farm Exports are on a Rising Curve
Notwithstanding logistical challenges posed by COVID19 pandemic, India’s exports of Agricultural and Processed Food products rose by more than 23 per cent in terms of USD in the first ten months of the current fiscal (April-January, 2021-22) compared to the same period of the previous year.
The export of products under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) ambit increased from USD 15,974 million in April-January 2020-21 to USD 19,709 million during the period.
The Ministry of Commerce & Industry has fixed the target for exports under APEDA basket products at USD 23,713 million in 2021-22.
The export of rice was the top forex earner at USD 7696 million during April-January 2021-22, growing 13 per cent over the corresponding period in 2020-21 when it touched USD 6,793 million.
The export of wheat recorded a huge surge at USD 1742 million during April-January 2021-22, growing 387 per cent over the corresponding period in 2020-21 when it touched USD 358 million, while other cereals registered a growth of 66 per cent by fetching USD 869 million during April-January 2021-22 over the corresponding period in 2020-21 when it touched USD 527 million.
Meat, dairy and poultry products exports grew over 13 per cent standing at USD 3408 million in April-January 2021-22 compared to USD 3005 million in the corresponding ten-month period of 2020-21. Fruits and vegetables exports were up by 16 per cent to touch USD 1207 million during April-January 2021-22 against USD 1037 million in April-January 2020-21, while processed fruits and vegetables exports were up by 11 per cent to reach USD 1269 million during first ten months of 2021-22 against USD 1143 million in the corresponding period of the previous year.
Exports of cereal preparations and other processed food items grew by 14 per cent during April-January 2021-22 to touch USD 2956 million against USD 2599 million in April-January, 2020-21. The cashew exports also grew by 11 per cent to USD 383 million in the first ten months of the current fiscal compared to the same period previous year.
The significant rise in agri-exports is seen as a testimony of the government’s commitment to increase farmers’ income through giving thrust on boosting exports of agricultural and processed food products of the country.
“We continue to focus on creating infrastructure for boosting exports by focusing on clusters in collaboration with state governments while taking into consideration the objective of Agriculture Export Policy, 2018,” Dr M Angamuthu, Chairman, APEDA, said.
“We are also promoting exports of Geographical Indication registered products along with those unique from the north-eastern and hilly states,” Angamuthu said.
APEDA has been engaged with State Governments for the implementation of Agriculture Export Policy. Maharashtra, U.P., Kerala, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Manipur, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, M.P., Mizoram and Meghalaya have finalized the State specific Action Plan for exports while the action plans of other States are at different stages of finalization.
The rise in export of agricultural and processed food products has been largely due to the various initiatives taken by APEDA such as organizing B2B exhibitions in different countries, exploring new potential markets through product specific and general marketing campaigns by active involvement of Indian Embassies.
APEDA has also taken several initiatives to promote geographical indications (GI) registered agricultural and processed food products in India by organizing virtual Buyer Seller Meets on agricultural and food products with the major importing countries across the world.
In order to ensure seamless quality certification of products to be exported, APEDA has recognized 220 labs across India to provide services of testing a wide range of products to exporters.
APEDA also assists in upgradation and strengthening of recognized laboratories for export testing and residue monitoring plans. APEDA also provides assistance under the financial assistance schemes of infrastructure development, quality improvement and market development for boosting export of agricultural products.
APEDA organizes participation of exporters in the International Trade Fairs, which provides a platform to the exporters to market their food products in the global marketplace. APEDA also organizes national events like AAHAR, Organic World Congress, BioFach India etc. to promote agri-exports.
APEDA also initiates registration of pack-houses for horticulture products for meeting the quality requirements of the international market. Registration of export units for peanut shelling and grading and processing units, for instance, is to ensure quality adherence for the EU and non-EU countries.
APEDA carries out registration of meat processing plants and abattoirs for ensuring compliance with global food safety and quality requirements. Another key initiative includes development and implementation of traceability systems which ensure the food safety and quality compliances of the importing countries. For boosting exports, APEDA compiles and disseminates various international trade analytical information, market access information amongst stakeholders and also addresses trade enquiries.
It may be noted that last month, as part of India’s efforts to showcase the country’s investment-friendly policies and growth opportunities in agriculture and allied sectors at EXPO2020 Dubai, Dr Abhilaksh Likhi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, invited the Startups and FPOs (Farmer Producer Organisations) to submit their proposals to the ministry, and assured them that they would be considered for providing equity grants, management costs, and other available support measures.
Dr. Likhi said, “The primary purpose of our participation at Expo2020 is to benefit the small and marginal farmers who need economies of scale, collectivisation, and more forums to come together, create synergies connected with markets both domestic and international.”
Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Ms. Shubha Thakur, said, “Indian farmers produce food that not only sustains India but also provides food security to the world.”
In this context, Thakur highlighted the potentials of millets. She said, “Millets is an important area for us, and we would like to utilise this global platform to learn about the health and nutritional aspects of millets and bring back the glory of millets.”
India produces all the nine commonly known millets and is the largest producer and second-largest exporter of millets globally. The U.N. General Assembly recently adopted a resolution sponsored by India and supported by more than 70 countries, declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millets.
All told, the Agriculture and Allied Sector is the backbone of the Indian economy and accounts for about 19% of the total exports. As per the second advance estimate released by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, record foodgrains production of 316.06 million tonnes is estimated for the 2021-22 crop year (July-June).