Agriculture has been one sector which has shown a consistent growth in spite of the global downturn. Agricultural exports stand out in contrast to dismal overall export scenario. The cumulative exports have been declining by around 30 per cent since October, 2008.
Exports of major agri products like fruits and vegetables, livestock and cereals are set to more than double and cross the Rs 100,000-crore in five years on the back of robust demand in the global market despite recession, agri export body APEDA said on Wednesday.
Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), which monitors and promotes exports of over 100 food items such as dairy, meat, poultry, beverages and flowers has made ambitious projections about growing demand of these products in the international market.
“Export of APEDA monitored products should exceed Rs one lakh crore (about $22 billion) in the next five years, which should translate into a five per cent share of the global agri exports,” APEDA Director S Dave said at an Assocham conference here.
Beating demand slowdown, exports of these products grew by 24 per cent in rupee terms to Rs 39,461 crore and 10 per cent in dollar terms to $8.67 billion in 2008-09.
The products in the APEDA portfolio account for 46 per cent of India’s total agri exports of about $18 billion (nearly two per cent of the global farm exports).
“Fortunately, agriculture has been one sector which has shown a consistent growth in spite of the global downturn,” Mr. Dave said.
The agri exports stand out in contrast to dismal overall export scenario. The cumulative exports have been declining by around 30 per cent since October, 2008.
Mr. Dave noted that the country needs to strengthen the exports capabilities through various means. He asked the industry to increase investment for value addition for maximising revenue.
He said many countries are collaborating among themselves through free trade agreements and “if India has to remain on the world agri trade map, we would also need to engage ourselves with different countries in the best interest of our export prospects“.
Asked about the impact of reduction in minimum export price (MEP) of basmati rice by 200 dollars to 900 dollars a tonne, Mr. Dave said: “With reduction in MEP, India’s basmati rice will be more competitive in the global market and exports will certainly increase“.
He said cut in MEP was necessary as Pakistan, a major competitor, was selling rice at cheaper rates.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Food and Agriculture K V Thomas hoped that trade in farm products would become fairer after the current round of negotiations and benefit the farmers.
The minister noted that share of agricultural exports to national exports was over 10 per cent during 2008-09, which indicates that the country has been able to meet domestic food demand and could export a host of farm products.