Agriculture World

Amidst COVID, India's Agri Exports Up by 23.24% in March-June: Centre

Kanika Dhamija
Kanika Dhamija
vegetables

India's agriculture/farm exports saw a substantial increase of 23.24%, in value terms to Rs 25,552.7 crore, during March-June period amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Agriculture Ministry said.

According to the statement released by the Ministry, to promote farm exports, a "comprehensive action plan" has been prepared under which Export Promotion Forums are being created, existing agri-clusters are being strengthened, plus certain destinations for promotion of agricultural exports are in the process of being identified.

Promotion of farm exports is extremely important not only for earning foreign exchange for the country but also for achieving the goal of an 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat', for which self-reliant agriculture is critical, the statement explained.

"Even during the difficult time of pandemic lockdown, India took care not to disturb the world food supply chain and continued to export," the statement added. According to the data provided by the Agriculture Ministry, exports of agri-commodities increased by 23.24% to Rs 25,552.7 crore during March-June 2020, as against Rs 20,734.8 crore in the year-ago period.

According to the ministry, "clear and proactive interventions" are required to be taken to ensure India becomes a top exporting nation in agriculture commensurate with the production. India holds second rank in world's wheat production, but ranks 34th in exports; India ranks third in vegetable production in the world, but ranks 14th in export; in the case for fruits, where India is the second largest producer in the world, export rank is 23rd, the statement detailed.

vegetables

Highlighting the comprehensive action plan for promotion of agri trade, the ministry said product specific Export Promotion Forums (EPFs) have been created to lead agri exports to new heights. EPFs for eight agricultural and allied products - grapes, mango, banana, onion, rice, nutri-cereals, pomegranate and floriculture - have been constituted under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA). Each EPF will have exporters of the related commodity as its members along with official members representing concerned ministries of the Central and state governments, the statement announced.

The ministry has also emphasized on strengthening the existing 'agri-clusters' and creating more product-specific clusters to fulfill the gap of bulk quantity and quality of supplies, the statement said. "A time bound action plan has also been prepared for import substitution with particular focus upon edible oils, cashew, fruits and spices thereby making India self-reliant," it added.

A specific strategy for export promotion has also been evolved for fresh fruits and vegetables with specific emphasis on grapes, mango, pomegranate, onion, potato and cucumber-gherkin. The export strategy focuses on export promotion of fast-evolving niche markets of wellness food, health conscious food and nutraceuticals as well as development of 'Brand India' to help penetration into new foreign markets, and on new products which automatically translates into higher value realization.

"Gulf countries have been identified as focus destinations to increase the market share which is a strong market for India, though presently India caters to only 10-12%shares of their total imports," the statement further said. A product market matrix has been made containing a list of 'products of strength' which could be expanded in new geographies and a list of known markets which can be introduced with newer products, it added. A two-fold approach addressing boosting agri export with emphasis on value-addition and focused action plan for import substitution has been made with a timed action plan, according to the Ministry.

Source: PTI

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