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Agri exports jump 22% to $7.9 bn in April-August

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NEW DELHI : Exports of 37 agriculture and processed products, promoted by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda), jumped 22% to $7.9 billion during first five months of the current fiscal from year-ago period on robust demand for rice and other cereals as well as meat, dairy and poultry products.

Exports of these products grew 24% to $20 billion during FY21 on a low base; though the year saw the pandemic and global prices of the most items remained elevated. Apeda is eyeing 10-15% rise in exports this year; the estimate is conservative because a possible decline in global prices is factored in.

“This rise in exports (in April-August 2021) has been achieved notwithstanding Covid-19 restrictions. This is also a testimony to the government’s commitment to increase farmers’ income through giving thrust on boosting exports of agricultural and processed food products,” said M Angamuthu, chairman of Apeda.

Various initiatives such as organising B2B exhibitions in different countries, exploring new potential markets through product specific and general marketing campaigns by active involvement of Indian embassies for boosting export have been successful, Angamuthu said. India ranked at 9th position in global agri trade in 2019, first time among top 10 countries, according to WTO’s trade map.

Export of rice increased 13.7% to $ 3.8 billion in April-August against $ 3.36 billion year-ago. Disaggregated data of basmati and non-basmati exports was not immediately available. As per the quick estimates, shipments of fresh fruits and vegetables registered 6.1% growth to $ 1.08 billion from $ 1.01 billion and that of processed food products by 41.9% to $ 889 million from $ 627 million.

Meat, dairy and poultry products witnessed 31.1% jump in shipments to $1.55 billion from $ 1.18 billion. The cashew export witnessed 28.5% growth to $ 185 million from $ 144 million.

“Agri export will perform exceedingly well. There could be more surprising trends as new export products emerge in view of shifting comparative advantages among nations. We are navigating an important period, which could be utilised to recast export supporting schemes in order to create additional markets,” said S Chandrasekaran, a trade policy analyst.

India’s overall merchandise exports have now exceeded the pre-Covid level for six months in a row and it shot up 45.8% in August to $33.3 billion y-o-y, supported by a conducive base, improved order flow from western markets and elevated global commodity prices.

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