Agri exports rise 20% in first three quarters of current fiscal

Written by Sandip Das | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 7 2014, 16:37pm hrs
Driven by a sharp rise in shipments of rice, meat products and fruits and vegetables, India's agricultural and processed food products' exports have risen by close to 20% to Rs 99,125 crore in the first three quarters of the current fiscal, compared with the same period last year.

Commerce ministry sources told FE agricultural exports are expected to rise by more than 15% in the current fiscal compared with the last.

According to the latest data by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Exports Development Authority (APEDA), a body under the commerce ministry, the rise in exports during April-December 2013 has been achieved despite more than 40% fall in exports of guargum, mostly used by US-based oil exploration companies. Factors such as adhering to global quality standards, improvement in quality of packaging and transportation and devaluation of the rupee against the dollar mainly contributed to the increase in agricultural goods exports, an official source said.

The sharpest jump in exports in the first nine months of this fiscal has been seen in shipments of Basmati rice and meat products, which have grown over 58% compared with the same period last fiscal.

India has earned more than R20,649 crore this fiscal from Basmati rice shipment, which is an increase of more than 58% compared with the last fiscal, while in terms of US dollar earnings, the exports grew by more than 46%. Similarly, in the case of meat and allied products, exports have risen to more than R19,946 crore in the current fiscal, against R17,902 crore earned during 2012-13.

The shipment of non-Basmati rice rose by more than 18% to R12,894 crore in the current fiscal. A commerce ministry official said rice exports have been rising steadily since the government lifted a four-year ban on non-Basmati rice exports in September 2011. As reported by FE recently, India is all set to earn close to R40,000 crore from rice exports this fiscal from R33,000 crore earned in the previous year.

Basmati rice export to Iran has risen sharply in the last eight months of the current fiscal. This has pushed up shipments of Basmati rice from the country, Vijay Setia, an exporter and former president of All India Rice Exporters' Association, said. Iran's share in the volume of Basmati rice exports from India is around 35%.

However, after rising for the last two fiscals, guargum exports have declined sharply to R10,159 crore in the first three quarters of this fiscal, while India had earned more than R21,000 crore during 2012-13.

Other commodities which saw a rise in exports in the qua-rters include dairy products (R2,618 crore), pulses (R1,451 crore), fruits (R2,602 crore) and vegetables (R3,865 crore).

Meanwhile, APEDA has identified 20 odd clusters located across India for sustaining growth in food products' exports in the future. These clusters include Basmati rice (Haryana and Punjab), buffalo meat (western UP), grape and grape wine (Nasik region, Maharashtra), pomegranate (Satara and Pune regions of Maharashtra), dehydrated onions and garlic (Gujarat), poultry or egg (Namakkal) and mango pulp (UP and Maharashtra). Indian agriculture seems to have a greater comparative trade advantage than manufactured goods. This has been possible as the sector has responded by undergoing a structural transformation, a paper by Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices chief Ashok Gulati recently stated.