Farmer stands beside sacks of rice in India. (Representative Image.Source: Reuters)
Aggressive expansion of India's agriculture export basket, penetration of new markets and specific focus on particular commodities at a state and district level has led to the stellar performance of agri export in 2020-21, the government has said.
After remaining stagnant for the past three years at $38.43 billion in 2017-18, $38.74 billion in 2018-19 and $35.16 billion in 2019-20, the export of agriculture and allied products (including marine and plantation products) jumped to $41.25 billion in 2020-21.
In a year riddled with logistics and demand challenges due to the pandemic, this rise of 17.3 percent is because of the Agriculture Export Policy of 2018 being implemented on a decentralised manner, across clusters and districts, Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan told reporters on June 10.
Wadhawan also said that Indian produce has now become institutionalised in the growing Middle Eastern markets even though they were competing just like every other nation just a few years back. This comes on the back of leveraging bilateral channels to boost trade and the India Brand Equity Foundation is planning a marketing campaign for Indian agriculture products in the Middle East countries, the government said.
India’s largest agriculture export to GCC countries are rice, buffalo meat, spices, marine products, fresh fruits and vegetables and sugar.
"In addition to traditional products and sourcing points, we have expanded to non traditional areas like North East," M. Angamuthu, Chairman of the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), said.
For traditional big earning commodities such as Basmati rice, legacy issue such as pesticide residue problems which affected export to the European Union, have been addressed. The EU has stringent norms against chemicals like Tricyclazole and Buprofezin, which are extensively used in rice cultivation in India.
"Testing has been made mandatory for Basmati export to EU, which led to decrease in the number of alerts. As a result of constant follow-up, Punjab imposed a ban on sale of nine chemicals, including tricyclazole and buprofezin, during the Kharif season 2020," the Commerce Department said.
Ground level push
As of now, 18 states and the union territories of Ladakh and Andaman & Nicobar have finalised the State specific Action Plans while state monitoring committees have been formed in 25 states.
As part of the Agriculture Export Policy, 46 unique product-district clusters have been identified for export promotion. As many as 29 Cluster Level Committees have been formed in different clusters.
Similarly, the government has said that a detailed analysis have been carried out to address the requirements of sanitary and phytosanitary measures as well as those creating challenges in technical barriers to trade.
The government has also stepped up its arrangement of virtual buyer seller meets with 24 such meets being organized with UAE, Kuwait, Indonesia, Switzerland, Belgium, Iran, Canada, among other nations.