From farmers to exporters: This is how India can effectively end agri sector woes

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Updated: January 03, 2020 10:10 AM

While India is one of the biggest farm produce generating nations, the agrarian sector has not seen much growth last year. However, the same can be resolved if the country shifts focus to exports.

farmers, farm produce, agri export Despite India’s healthy production-wise output, exports from the country have not fared well and India is much behind its global peers in exporting. (PTI)

While India is one of the biggest farm produce generating nations, the agrarian sector has not seen much growth last year. However, the same can be resolved if the country shifts focus to exports. Why exports? Because on the demand side, there is a consumption slowdown in the country. “Given the innate vagaries of the domestic value chain and subdued consumption sentiment, it is important to focus on the exports value chain,” Ashok Sharma, President-Agribusiness, Mahindra & Mahindra and CEO, Mahindra Agri Solutions Ltd, wrote in The Indian Express. 

Despite India’s healthy production-wise output, exports from the country have not fared well and India is much behind its global peers in exporting. “India has not leveraged its position as the second-largest horticulture producer. Smaller countries such as Thailand and Egypt fare better than India in horticulture exports,” Ashok Sharma wrote. India is the world’s second largest farm producer, but still doesn’t rank among top 10 exporters and Indian exports amount to a meagre 2.2% share of the global agri trade, which is pegged around $1.6 trillion. 

Farmers need to be kept abreast of the global trends and demands such as varieties to grow or quality and the safety standards to be maintained. India also needs to take care of the concerns of various stakeholders. “The most crucial are our farmers, who cultivate fractured landholdings and are often not updated on the global demand trends,” Ashok Sharma wrote. Small farmers must also be helped with investing in post-harvest processing, cold chain or branding requires capital as they themselves cannot take care of the same. 

In line with the government’s agenda of setting up 10,000 FPOs in the next five years, “a ‘Public-Private-Farmer Group Partnership’ model could be the way ahead for pushing agri exports from India,” Ashok Sharma wrote. Further, the government can establish crop-specific councils and extensively fund them for carrying out market research, building strong brands and setting up common infrastructure, he added. 

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