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Despite the pandemic and the overall exports slump, India posted an impressive growth in exports of agriculture and allied products in FY21, with buoyant shipments of a host of commodities including non-basmati rice, wheat, soyameal, spices, sugar, cotton, fresh vegetables, processed vegetables and alcoholic beverages.
As per the data for the April-February period of last fiscal, India’s foreign trade balance in agriculture increased by 41% on year to Rs 1,32,580 crore.
Agriculture and allied products worth Rs 2.74 lakh crore were exported in the first 11 months of last fiscal against Rs 2.31 lakh crore in the year-ago period, up 18.6%, while imports marginally increased by 3% to Rs 1.41 lakh crore.
India has consistently maintained trade surplus in the agricultural products over the years.
The country’s agricultural and allied sectors’ exports were Rs 2.52 lakh crore and imports were Rs 1.47 lakh crore during FY20.
“Even during the difficult time of pandemic, India took care not to disturb the world food supply chain and continued to export,” an agriculture ministry official said. The commodities which posted significant positive growth in exports include wheat, rice (non-basmati), soyameal, spices, sugar, cotton, fresh vegetable, processed vegetables and alcoholic beverages, the official said.
Wheat exports increased from Rs 425 crore to Rs 3,283 crore while exports of other cereals (excluding basmati rice) rose from Rs 1,318 crore to Rs 4,542 crore. On specific demand from countries, agri cooperative Nafed has exported 50,000 tonne of wheat to Afghanistan and 40,000 tonne to Lebanon under government-to-government arrangement.
Export of non-basmati rice has gone up from Rs 13,030 crore to Rs 30,277 crore, following entry into new markets such as Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Chile, and Puerto Rico. Exports were also made to Togo, Senegal, Malaysia, Madagascar, Iraq, Bangladesh, Mozambique, Vietnam, Tanzania Rep and Madagascar.
Similarly, export of soyameal more than doubled from Rs 3,087 crore to Rs 7,224 crore. Spices exporters grew 11% to Rs 26,257 crore from Rs 23,562 crore, sugar by 40% to Rs 17,072 crore from Rs 12,226 crore and raw cotton by 68% to Rs 11,373 crore from Rs 6,771 crore.
According to data complied by economist Debesh Roy, India’s exports of agriculture and allied exports in dollar term grew at a CAGR of 3.7% between 2015-16 and 2019-20. The CAGR was 11.5% between 2010-11 and 2014-15.
The Agriculture Export Policy (AEP), 2018, has set an ambitious export target of $60 billion by 2022 and $100 billion within a few years thereafter, and if these targets achieved, the daunting task of doubling farmers’ income will be hat much easier.
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