India’s agricultural and processed food products exports in the first half of the current fiscal declined marginally, compared to the same period last year despite increase in shipment of buffalo meat and fruits and vegetables. Basmati rice shipments also witnessed a substantial fall.
According to data from the Agricultural and Processed Food Products and Export Development Authority (Apeda), the exports in the April-September period of FY17 stood at R50,939 crore —around 3.6% lower than the same period last year.
Sources said overall, all exports in the current fiscal may surpass the previous fiscal level with expected revival in basmati rice shipment in the last part of the current fiscal.
India’s farm and processed foods exports had fallen to R1.06 lakh crore in FY16 against R1.31 lakh crore in FY15.
Exports of buffalo meat, which constitute about 25% of the exports in the Apeda basket, rose marginally in value terms to R12,331 crore this fiscal while shipment of fruits and vegetables saw a sharp increase of 9% to R4,228 crore comparison to last year.
Buffalo meat remained the largest item in the Apeda export basket. Its exports surpassed the value of basmati rice exports for the first time in FY15.
The shipment of groundnuts rose significantly by more than 18% to R1, 916 crore this fiscal compared to the same period last fiscal.
However, the exports of aromatic and long-grained basmati rice, a key product with a share of more than 21% in total agricultural products shipment, declined by more than 11% to R10,924 crore in comparison to the same period last year. The exports of non-basmati rice rose marginally by around 3% to R8,616 crore.
According to industry sources, the shipment of basmati rice is set to increase shortly as Iran, one of the key importer of rice from India, is likely to resume shipment by December.
“Because of slump in crude oil prices, consumers in many West Asian countries have shifted to consumption of non-basmati rice instead of basmati rice which commands a premium price,” a rice exporter told FE.
Exports of guar gum, mostly used by US-based oil exploration company, declined by close to 34% to R1,208 crore in the first half of this fiscal compared with R1,859 crore in the previous year.
Commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman earlier said in Parliament that the primary reasons for the decline in agricultural exports include low commodity prices in the international market, shrinking global demand and high domestic prices, compared with the international prices.
The problem was compounded by unfavourable currency rate movements compared with competing countries.
Apeda monitors shipment of 22 commodities such as rice, wheat, buffalo meat, fruit and vegetables, pulses and other meat products.
The authority has identified 20-odd clusters located for sustaining growth in the country’s food products’ exports.
These include basmati rice (Haryana and Punjab), buffalo meat (western Uttar Pradesh), grape and wine (Nashik region, Maharashtra), pomegranate (Satara and Pune regions of Maharashtra), dehydrated onions and garlic (Gujarat), poultry or egg (Namakkal, Tamil Nadu) and mango pulp (Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra).