Farm imports fall 5.6% on bumper crop

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Oct 29 2011, 09:01am hrs
Indias farm imports dropped 5.6% in the fiscal year through March, while exports rose 34.5% due to a bumper domestic production, official data showed.

While the imports fell to R56,196.20 crore in the last fiscal, exports surged to R1,20,185.95 crore during the period. Decrease in value of agricultural imports during the period under review has been primarily due to lower import of cereals, pulses, cotton, oilseed and tea, a farm ministry publication said. Exports jumped primarily because of sugar, cotton, pulses, guargum meal, jute and molasses, it added.

India reaped bumper harvests of sugarcane, pulses and oilseeds in the crop year through June, significantly reducing reliance on overseas purchases in 2010-11. The country produced a bumper grain harvest of 241.56 million tonne, including record wheat output of 85.93 million tonne and 18 million tonne of pulses, and an all-time-high oilseed production of 31.10 million tonne in 2010-11 when many nations across the globe suffered shortages.

Apart from grain and oilseeds, the countryalso the worlds second-largest producer of cotton and sugarexported the two commodities in large volumes due to healthy production. India shipped around 6.8 million bales of cotton and 2.6 million tonne of sugar in 2010-11, significantly boosting its farm export revenue. .

Trade executives said the countrys farm exports would have surged even higher had the government allowed unrestricted exports of farm items such as rice, wheat, cotton and sugar.

While the government kept a general ban on rice and wheat exportsbarring a few government-to-government dealsit put quantitative restrictions on shipments of cotton and sugar.

Official data also showed gross capital formationa key indicator of investment--in the agriculture and allied sectors has gone up to 18.7% of the gross domestic product in the past three years, compared with 12.5% during the whole of the Tenth Plan period through 2006-07.

Gross capital formation rose from 6.3% during the first five-year Plan to 11.3% during the fifth Plan period before declining to 9.8% by the end of the ninth Plan, according to the data.