Exim study reveals potential for fruits, vegetable exports

Mumbai, March 28 | Updated: Mar 29 2005, 05:30am hrs
India has a negligible share in global exports of fruits and vegetables, though it is the second largest producer of these items in the world. This calls for a paradigm shift in future development in these sectors to bring in better balance between production and other sub-systems, according to an Exim Bank study titled Fresh Fruits, Vegetables and Dairy Products: Indias Potential for Exports to Other Asian Countries.

The export potential of fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy sector in India has not been fully tapped, considering the size and diversity of these sectors, says the study. Citing Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) data, it says that world trade of fresh fruits and vegetable was estimated to be $40 billion in 2003, while the Asian region accounted for nearly 15% share of the global trade of fruits and vegetable imports. Indias exports of fruits, including edible nuts in 2003-04, aggregated to $166 million and vegetable exports accrued to $205 million, said the study.

Major problems for fresh fruit and vegetable exports from India include low productivity (cost competitiveness) as compared to global standards, prevalence of a low level of pre-harvest and post-harvest technologies, international quality standards and existence of distortion in market channels, the study notes.

The study suggested the need for gaining deeper understanding of different kinds of technologies as being essential in the pre-harvest and post harvest phase, to ensure retention of the quality of the produce.

Research institutions could obtain details about the latest technology on storage of various agriculture products and then develop appropriate storage protocols to suit Indian fruits and vegetables.