Agriculture Ministry has suggested several measures including setting up of a system for forecasting demand, green logistics corridor for perishables, and use of e-commerce, to boost shipments of agri commodities to USD 60 billion by 2022.Other steps suggested to Commerce Ministry in this regard include strengthening of domestic regulatory authority, review of Essential Commodity Act and involving Indian missions abroad.
Besides, measures like protecting farmers through appropriate duty instruments, and special safeguard mechanism have been suggested, a senior government official said. The commerce ministry has floated a draft agriculture export policy and is seeking views of all stakeholders including different ministries and departments on the same.
In the draft, it has recommended stable trade policy regime, reforms in the APMC Act, streamlining of Mandi fee and liberalisation of land leasing norms. The policy seeks to increase the shipments to over USD 60 billion by 2022 from about USD 38 billion.
The agri ministry has also suggested setting up of an administrative machinery for regular monitoring of the progress and to ensure that the goal is achieved by 2022. For this, it has asked for a board of agriculture trade, to be headed by the commerce minister, and a centre for agriculture trade which could consist of experts and data analysts.
As part of short and long-term measures, it has recommended modernising export infrastructure across value chain. Moreover, the agri ministry has suggested to work towards ease of logistics, storage hubs, establishing traceability systems, and market intelligence for imports, promotion of crops where imports are large and superfoods, and brand promotion in global markets.
The draft policy aims at addressing a whole range of issues which could potentially propel India into the top bracket of agricultural exports. According to a WTO report in 2017, India is the 10th largest exporter of agricultural products in the world with a share of 2.1 per cent. However, exports of agri commodities, as a percentage of the total production are too low.
The main export destinations include Vietnam, the US, UAE, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, the Netherland, Malaysia, Nepal and the UK. In 2017-18, the exports increased to USD 38.2 billion from USD 33.3 billion in the previous fiscal. Indian agri exports mainly include marine products, basmati and non-basmati rice, buffalo meat, spices, oil meals and coffee.