“The Indian Agricultural exports have shown an increase of 17.34% ( USD 41.25 billion),” said Dr Anup Wadhawan, Secretary, Department of Commerce, in a media interaction today.
In INR terms, there has been a growth of 22.62% in exports during 2020-21 amounting to Rs. 3.05 lakh crore in comparison to Rs. 2.49 lakh crore during 2019-20.
This is a remarkable development at times of the COVID-19 crisis wherein the domestic and international markets have suffered a major hit due to halts in the trading process.
Despite the obstructions, India has been able to maintain the balance of trade in agriculture which has improved by 42.16% from USD 14.51 billion to USD 20.58 billion.
Agricultural products that have seen the major growth
Deriving the advantage from increased demand for staples during the COVID-19 period, India has witnessed a growth in exports of agriculture products (excluding marine and plantation products), with 28.36% (USD 29.81 billion) in 2020-21 as compared to USD 23.23 billion in 2019-20.
There has been a huge growth in the export of cereals and that of non-basmati rice by 136.04% (USD 4794.54 million); wheat by 774.17% (USD 549.16 million); and other cereals (Millets, Maize and other coarse gains) by 238.28% *USD 694.14 million).
Other agricultural products that have registered a significant increase in exports are; oil meals (USD 1575.34 million -growth of 90.28%), sugar (USD 2789.97 million – growth 41.88%), raw cotton (USD 1897.20 million – growth 79.43%), fresh vegetables (USD 721.47 million – growth 10.71%) and vegetable oils (USD 602.77 million- growth 254.39%) etc.
Export of spices like ginger, pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, saffron etc., which have known therapeutic qualities, has also grown substantially.
Largest Global Markets for Indian Agricultural Produce
India’s agriculture products are majorly exported to the USA, China, Bangladesh, UAE, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Nepal, Iran and Malaysia.
Exports to most of these destinations have registered growth, wherein Indonesia has recorded the highest growth of 102.42%, followed by Bangladesh (95.93%) and Nepal (50.49%).
Measures that helped increase in Exports During COVID-19 times
The government bodies like APEDA, MPEDA and the Ministry of Agriculture had provided online issuance of various certificates required for exports that helped the process go on smoothly even under lockdown.
To accomplish ease of doing business, the process of minimizing regulatory compliances and decriminalization of various offence has also been initiated.
Cluster Development for Increased Exports
Exports from several clusters were initiated for the first time. As part of the Agriculture Export Policy (2018), 46 unique product-district clusters have been identified for export promotion.29 Cluster Level Committees have been formed in different clusters.
In the past year, the export of fresh vegetables and mangoes from Varanasi and black Rice from Chandauli happened for the first time, directly benefitting farmers of these areas.
Subsequently, exports have been initiated from other clusters such as Oranges from Nagpur, Banana from Theni and Ananthpur, Mango from Lucknow etc.
Various measures taken during the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with efficient implementation of existing schemes have led to a noteworthy growth in the export of agricultural produce from India.