Seeking to double agricultural export to USD 60 billion by 2022, the Union Cabinet Thursday approved a maiden export policy for the farm sector that imposes no restrictions on export of all organic and processed products. However, export policy for primary agricultural products, like onion, would reviewed periodically on a case-to-case basis depending on price-supply situation, said Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu after the Cabinet meet. “The policy aims at doubling agricultural shipments to over USD 60 billion by 2022,” he said, adding that achieving the target was “doable”. He said the farm exports have grown by 20 per cent in a year. Agricultural exports are currently estimated at USD 30 billion. Prabhu said there was a time when India used to import agricultural products, but now it is exporting in a big way.
He rued India had no export policy for agri products despite a major producer. Prabhu said the first ever ‘Agriculture Export Policy, 2018′ would help the government in achieving the target of doubling farmers’ income. The policy aims to boost exports of agriculture commodities such as tea, coffee and rice and increase the country’s share in global agri-trade.
The policy would focus on all aspects of agricultural exports including modernising infrastructure, standardisation of products, streamlining regulations, curtailing knee-jerk decisions, and focusing on research and development activities. It will also seek to remove all kinds of export restrictions on organic products, the minister added. The implementation of the policy will have an estimated financial implication of over Rs 1,400 crore. As per an official release, the objective of the policy is to diversify export basket, destinations and boost high value and value added agricultural exports.
It will also provide an institutional mechanism for pursuing market access, tackling barriers and deal with sanitary and phyto-sanitary issues. Other objectives of the policy is to strive to double India’s share in world agri exports by integrating with global value chain at the earliest and enable farmers to get benefit of export opportunities in overseas market. Prabhu said the policy has arrived at after consultation with state governments. He said states have also agreed to remove ‘mandi tax’ and reforms in Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) norms. To operationalise the policy, the government would focus on creating agri clusters, promote value added shipments, attract private investment and infrastructure development.