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Indian Govt is planning to boost exports of 20 ‘high potential’ agri products

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NEW DELHI : The Government has begun activating plans to boost exports of 20 items, including basmati rice, alcoholic beverages, honey, bananas, mangoes, potatoes, and baby corn, that have significant growth potential in the global export markets.

“We have identified 20 products. At present, India’s share is low in global exports. We are working on detailed action for all these products. India’s share is about 2.5 per cent in global exports, and the aim is to increase it to about 4-5 per cent in the coming years,” Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Rajesh Agarwal said on Tuesday.

The items include fresh grapes, guava, pomegranate, watermelon, onion, green chili, capsicum, okra, garlic, groundnut, alcoholic beverages, cashew nut, buffalo meat, jaggery, and natural honey.

Firming up such a plan will be crucial because India’s overall agriculture exports witnessed a contraction over the last one year. It was due to export restrictions on essential commodities, such as rice, wheat, sugar and onion.

Worldwide imports of the 20 commodities were $405.24 billion in 2022, while India’s share stood at $9.03 billion.

Countries that hold huge export potential for these items include the United States, Malaysia, Canada, Russia, Germany, France, South Korea, China, Indonesia, Japan, Italy, Belgium, and the UK.

Agri exports

India’s agriculture exports contracted 8.8 per cent to $43.7 billion during April-February (2023-24).

It was mainly due to external factors such as the Red Sea crisis, Russia-Ukraine war, as well as domestic restrictions imposed on items like rice, wheat, sugar and onion. A senior government official said there has not been any visible impact of the Israel-Iran war on exports as it is evolving,

An export ban and curbs on commodities like rice, wheat, sugar and onion hit agri exports by about $5-6 billion in the last financial year (FY24).

Exports of basmati rice increased from $4.2 billion in April-February 2022-23 to $5.2 billion in April-February 2023-24, up 22 per cent.

The official further said that the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) is working with different institutes to develop sea protocols for ginger, pineapple, mangoes, and oranges to promote shipments through sea routes. At present, they are mainly shipped through air routes.

Developing sea protocol reduces the logistics cost for export of horticulture produce to long-distance markets and enables a quantum increase in exports of items like bananas, mangoes, pomegranates, and other fresh fruits and vegetables, APEDA Chairman Mr. Abhishek Dev said.

The export ban and restrictions on commodities like rice, wheat, sugar, and onions have hit agri-exports by about $5-6 billion in the last fiscal, an official said. However, among 24 principal commodities (in the APEDA basket), 17 have recorded positive growth during the period, including fresh fruit, buffalo meat, processed vegetables, basmati rice, and bananas.

The exports of basmati rice increased 22 percent from $4.2 billion in April-February 2022-23 to $5.2 billion in April-February 2023-24 in value terms, an official said.

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