Overseas demand for India’s organic farm products shot up in the pandemic year and exports of such items surged 51% on year in FY21, beating Covid-induced hiccups in the supply chain.
Outbound shipments of organic products hit $1,040 million last fiscal, compared with $689 million a year before, aiding a rise in the overall agricultural exports, commerce secretary Anup Wadhawan said on Thursday.
Farm exports rose over 17% last fiscal to $41.25 billion when total merchandise shipments shrank by about 7% to almost $291 billion.
Even in volume term, exports of organic products grew as much as 39% to 8,88,179 tonnes last fiscal, against 638,998 tonnes in FY20, suggesting robust growth in demand.
The key organic products that were shipped out include oil cake and meals, oil seeds, cereals, millets, spices and condiments, tea, medicinal plant products, dry fruits, sugar, pulses and coffee.
The products were supplied to 58 destinations, mainly the US, the EU, Canada, the UK, Australia, Switzerland, Israel and South Korea.
Organic products are currently exported from India only if they are produced, processed, packed and labelled as per the stipulations of the National Programme for Organic Production under the state-run APEDA.
As for the overall farm exports, the country recorded impressive growth, despite the logistical and operational challenges posed by the pandemic, as demand for staples jumped. Exports of agriculture and allied products (including marine and plantation products) rose to $41.25 billion in FY21 from $35.16 billion a year before, Wadhawan said. Such exports had remained stagnant for two years — $38.43 billion in FY18 and $38.74 billion in FY19 – before declining in FY20.
Bumper harvest of certain crops, especially grains, sustained efforts by exporters in challenging times, attractive prices abroad and push by the government through various initiatives — including a farm export policy, setting up of clusters and easier compliance—boosted exports.
Wadhawan said exports of non-basmati rice jumped 136% to $4,794.54 million; wheat by 774% to $549 million; and other cereals (millets, maize and other coarse gains) by 238% to $694 million.
Other farm commodities that posted substantial increase in exports were sugar (42% to $2,790 million), raw cotton (79% to $1,897 million), oil meals (90% to $1,575 million), fresh vegetables (11% to 721 million) and vegetable oils (254% to $603 million).
The US remained the largest market for Indian farm products, followed by China, Bangladesh, the UAE and Vietnam.