Government on Monday said it is making all efforts to increase export of agricultural commodities, including wheat, rice, vegetables, meat and marine products, and India has emerged as the second highest exporter in this sector.

“The picture being painted that there has been a fall in export of agricultural products is incorrect. Processed agricultural products, vegetables and fruits are being exported as part of India’s foreign trade policy,” Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma told the Lok Sabha during Question Hour.

He emphasised that government is giving a 5 per cent export incentive to this sector. “It is under Open General Licence and there are no barriers,” Mr. Sharma said.

The minister claimed that government is making all efforts to increase export of agricultural products and India is now the second highest exporter in this sector.

He, however, rued that 35 per cent of the agri-products still go waste which is a very high figure and hoped that with FDI coming in, the foreign players will open up more cold storages and processing industries.

Mr. Sharma said other products being exported include wheat, non-basmati rice (where India is the highest exporter in the world), bovine meat and marine products. He said all steps are being taken to get good remuneration for the farmers.

He admitted that there is shortage of edible oil and pulses and these are being imported. “About 8-9 million tonnes of edible oil and 3-4 million tonnes of pulses are being imported,” he said.

India also imports palm oil which is sold at PDS shops at subsidised rate.

Mr. Sharma said India has ample stocks and the export of agricultural products should earn the country valuable foreign exchange at a time when there is pressure on the current account.

In reply to a question, the minister said chillies are also among the products being exported by India.

“The top five destinations for India’s export of processed agricultural products are USA, Indonesia, Vietnam, UAE and China. The top five destinations for India’s export of processed marine products are USA, France, Italy, South Africa and Spain,” Mr. Sharma said in his written reply.

Government has through a notification issued on February 4, 2013 allowed the export of 14 commodities and product groups of processed and value added agricultural products like cereal flours, meals, milk products, value added products of onion and so on.

“The government is taking steps to encourage exports of agro products, including processed food products through measures and incentives under Plan schemes of the Commodity Boards and Export Promotion Councils,” Mr. Sharma said.

He informed the Lok Sabha that Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) are implementing various schemes to extend financial assistance to eligible exporters.

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