Food processing, spices, cashew nuts, and machine & equipment (M&E) sectors have requested permission to open and operate on at least 25-30% strength.
Hit by the lockdown, the agro-industry has become restless to restart its operation, even at a significantly low capacity. The representatives of industries relating to food processing, spices, cashew nuts, and machine & equipment (M&E) sectors have requested permission to open and operate on at least 25-30 per cent strength, said a statement by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare. The industry representatives have also promised to maintain proper health advisory in their functioning. The dialogue took place between Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, DACFW secretary Sanjay Agarwal and the exporters of Agri and Allied commodities via video conference. The aim of the dialogue was to address the issues affecting the sector as a fallout of the lockdown.
The exporter of agri commodities raised issues related to availability and movement of labour, inter-state transport bottlenecks, shortage of raw materials due to closure of Mandis, phytosanitary certification, closure of courier services thereby hampering movement of shipping documents, availability of freight services, access to ports or yards and clearance of goods for imports and exports.
Commenting on the issues, Sanjay Agarwal said the issues pertaining to port, ocean freight services, and courier services will be considered for necessary resolution and the request for opening the industry and sector-specific issues will be taken up with the Agriculture Minister. India agro-exports have always kept the sector in a trade surplus as the country exports a good amount of Agricultural & allied Commodities. India’s agricultural and allied exports during 2018-19 were Rs. 2.73 lakh crores. Besides earning a handsome amount of foreign exhange, the sector’s exports help farmers, producers, and exporters to take advantage of a wider international market and increase their income.