New Delhi, June 4
A sharp rise in the global demand for products such as guargum, rice, wheat, meat, fresh fruits and vegetables has pushed agricultural and processed food exports up by more than 41% to R1.16 lakh crore in 2012-13. The countrys farm product exports have crossed the R1-lakh-crore mark for the first time.
A commerce ministry official told FE these products, which made more than 77% of the countrys total agricultural good exports last fiscal, are expected to push up the shipments from India in the current fiscal as well. Gulf countries, US, UK, Germany, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia are some of the leading export destinations for Indian products.
According to the data compiled by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Exports Development Authority (APEDA), the key driver behind the surge last fiscal is attributed to a rise in the shipment of commodities such as guargum (R21,190 cr), basmati rice (R19,391 cr), non-basmati rice (R14,416 cr), wheat (R10,488 cr), fresh fruits (R3,290 cr) and vegetables (R3,096 cr).
Though volume-wise, exports of guargum mostly used in the petroleum industry in the US increased by more than 29% last fiscal in comparison to 2011-12, the biggest rise in exports has been seen in commodities such as non-basmati rice and wheat.
India lifted the ban on non-basmati rice exports in September 2011 and the country has started to export wheat following a bumper crop last year.
Since the lifting of restriction of rice exports, there has been huge global demand for Indian rice, especially in Africa, EU and West Asia. India has retained its biggest rice exporter tag with shipments of 10 million tonne (mt) during 2012-13.
The country was the worlds largest exporter of rice in 2011-12 with exports of close to 10 mt, Thailand exported 6.9 mt and Vietnam sold 7.8 mt overseas.
India has exported rice worth of close to R32,000 crore during the last fiscal. It would be challenging for us to maintain our position in the global rice trade this year, Asit Tripathy, joint-secretary (agriculture), commerce ministry, told FE.
Other key commodities that saw growth in shipments include dairy products (R1,763 crore), pulses (R1,279 crore) and floriculture (R423 crore).
APEDA has identified 20-odd clusters located across the country for maintaining a healthy growth in the countrys food product exports during the current fiscal.
These clusters include basmati rice (Haryana and Punjab), buffalo meat (western Uttar Pradesh), grape and grape wine (Nasik region, Maharastra), pomegranate (Satara and Pune regions of Maharashtra), dehydrated onions and garlic (Gujarat), poultry or egg (Namakkal) and mango pulp (Uttar Pradesh 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 the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) chief Ashok Gulati recently stated
The CACP paper also points to the changing composition of Indias agricultural exports basket between 2001 and 2012. In the last fiscal, rice was the leading agriculture export product (12%), followed by raw cotton (11.4%), marine products (9.9%), oil meals (7.9%) and meat (7.6%).