India can be a food export powerhouse


Despite the logistical challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, India’s exports of agricultural and processed food products grew by more than 23% in dollar terms in the first 10 months of the current financial year (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) increased from $15,974 million in April-January 2020-21 to $19,709 million during the period. The Ministry of Trade and Industry has set the export target under the APEDA basket products at $23,713 million in 2021-22.

Rice export was the main source of foreign exchange with 7,696 million dollars from April to January 2021-2022, growing by 13% compared to the corresponding period in 2020-21 when it reached 6,793 million of dollars. Wheat export recorded a huge increase of $1,742 million from April to January 2021-22, increasing by 387% from the corresponding period in 2020-21 when it reached $358 million, while other cereals recorded a growth of 66% reaching 869 dollars. million in April-January 2021-22 compared to the corresponding period in 2020-21 when it received $527 million.

Exports of meat, dairy and poultry products increased by more than 13% to reach $3,408 million in April-January 2021-22, compared to $3,005 million in the corresponding ten-month period from 2020-21. Exports of fruits and vegetables increased by 16% to $1,207 million in April-January 2021-22 from $1,037 million in April-January 2020-21, while exports of processed fruits and vegetables increased by 11% to reach 1,269 million dollars during the first ten months of 2021-22 against 1,143 million dollars for the corresponding period of the previous year.

Exports of cereal preparations and other processed food products increased by 14% in April-January 2021-22 to reach $2,956 million compared to $2,599 million in April-January 2020-21. Cashew nut exports also increased by 11% to $383 million in the first ten months of the current fiscal year compared to the same period a year earlier.

Steady focus on creating infrastructure to boost exports by focusing on clusters in collaboration with state governments while taking into account the objective of Agricultural Export Policy-2018 has started to produce the desired results . To ensure that farmers benefit from exports, the Department of Commerce has made special efforts to provide farmers with direct links to export markets. A Farmer Connect portal has been set up to provide a platform for farmers, FPO/FPC cooperatives to interact with exporters. This approach has resulted in agricultural exports from hitherto unexplored regions. Exports took place from clusters like Varanasi (fresh vegetables, mangoes), Anantapur (banana), Nagpur (orange), Lucknow (mango), Theni (banana), Solapur (pomegranate). India’s total share in world trade is only 2%, making agricultural exports only 2% of the national GDP. While the country is a food surplus, supply chain inefficiencies are hurting exports. Moreover, the choice of seeds and cultivation practices means that only a narrow range of Indian crops are competitive in the global market. Several corrections are still necessary to our practices to become a world food exporting power.


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