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Gujarat leads surge in agri exports during pandemic

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AHMEDABAD : The Covid-19 pandemic had posed various challenges to agricultural export including shortage of containers, high freight cost and disruption in supplies due to lockdowns.

However, data provided by the Ministry of Agriculture show that the export of agricultural commodities witnessed a 34.86 per cent year-on-year increase during 2020-21 to ₹2,10,093.40 crore, compared to ₹1,55,781.72 crore during 2019-20.

In the year 2020, India became the ninth-largest exporter of agricultural products in the world.

Unequal benefits

But data available for the last three years show that only a few States, led by Gujarat, have reaped maximum benefits of agricultural export.

As per export statistics (in rupee terms), there was 72.6 per cent growth in agri and allied exports during the period 2014-15 to 2020-21 against the previous 7 years — i.e. 2007-08 to 2013-14.

Agriculture exports help farmers take advantage of the wider international market which translates into increased income, according to the government.

Top exporting States

Agricultural export data provided by the Ministry of Agriculture in the Rajya Sabha this month show that Gujarat tops the list of States in agri commodities export.

Of the total agricultural export of ₹5,38,359.5 crore during the three years (2018-19 to 2020-21), Gujarat exported agri commodities of ₹1,18,595.7 crore — about 22 per cent of total agri export in terms of value. The top four States — Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh — together exported agri commodities of ₹2,92,747.7 crore — 54 per cent of total export value.

Uttar Pradesh, which stands fifth among the top agri commodity exporter States, is far behind the top four States. India’s biggest State has exported agri commodities of ₹29,119.2 crore during the combined three years, less than Gujarat’s annual export value for each of the three years. Assam and Bihar have exported just one per cent of the total agri commodity export (in value) during these years.

Exported commodities

During 2019-20 and 2020-21, castor oil, cotton raw including waste, spices, sugar, and Basmati rice were the most exported agri commodities (in value) from Gujarat. Groundnut and other rice brands were also among the top commodities fetching money to Gujarat.

Sugar topped the list of exports (in value) in Maharashtra during the same period, followed by fresh fruits, rice (other than Basmati), spices and fresh vegetables.

When it comes to Haryana, Basmati and other varieties of rice, guar meal, pulses and sugar were the top items in export.

Spices, rice (other than Basmati), tobacco (unmanufactured) and coffee were top export items (in value) during the last two years from Andhra Pradesh.

Spices, sugar, rice and wheat fetched export money to Uttar Pradesh.

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