After a steep 20% decline last year, India’s farm and processed foods exports appear to look up. Export growth has been near flat in the first quarter of this year and according to analysts, a revival is under way in the current quarter, reports Sandip Das in New Delhi.
According to latest data from the Agricultural and Processed Food Products and Export Development Authority (Apeda), exports in Q1FY17 stood at R26,140 crore, a trifle lower than Q1 last year. A steep 8.5% fall was witnessed in exports of Basmati rice, the single largest export item from the farm basket. Exports of fresh fruit and vegetables and guar gum also plunged steeply, by 9.1% and 37%, respectively. Non-Basmati rice shipment saw an increase of 7% to
R4,255 crore. Exports of guar gum, mostly to US-based oil exploration companies, started falling from last fiscal. However, other major export items like non-Basmati rice (7.4%) and fresh fruit and vegetables (9.1%) have risen. India’s farm and processed foods exports had fallen to R1.05 lakh crore in FY16 against R1.31 lakh crore reported in FY15.
Commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in Parliament recently that the primary reasons for the decline in agricultural exports include low commodity prices in the international market, shrinking global demand and high domestic prices, compared with the international prices. The problem was compounded by unfavourable currency rate movements compared with competing countries.