Agriculture, processed food exports shrink 21per cent in April-December

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New Delhi | Published: February 3, 2016 2:16:23 AM

Fall in global commodity prices, sluggish demand result in sharp decline; slowdown expected to continue in last quarter.

The fall in global commodity prices and sluggish demand have resulted in a sharp decline in India’s agricultural and processed food exports in the first three quarters of the current fiscal. Official sources told FE that the slowdown in agricultural goods shipments is expected to continue in the last quarter of the year as well.

According to latest data compiled by the Agricultural and Processed Food Exports Development Authority (APEDA), the shipment of agricultural produce and processed foods, which had seen a phenomenal rise for a few years to FY14, shrank by more than 21% during April-December, 2015 in comparison with the same period last fiscal.

The exports of buffalo meat, Basmati, non-Basmati and others have declined to Rs 78,503 crore in April-December, 2015 from Rs 1,00,094 crore achieved in the same period last fiscal. The realisation from the shipment of rice (Basmati and non-Basmati), buffalo meat, guargum etc. have declined sharply in the current fiscal.

However the shipment of fruits and vegetables has witnessed a marginal increase in the current fiscal so far. “We are hoping that Basmati rice exports would pick up pace in the last fiscal and thereafter as Iran has lifted curb on our rice import,” an official told FE.
Officials say that Basmati, which was the top agri exportable item till FY14, have seen a decline in realisation by 14% in the first three quarters of the current fiscal in comparison with last fiscal. However, the volume of exports has been more in comparison with last fiscal.

The official said that the decline in agricultural commodities shipments also reflect an overall decline in the exports of other commodities.

The realisation from the shipments of key agricultural commodities — Basmati rice (-14%), non-Basmati rice (-26%), buffalo meat (-10%) and Guargum
(-65%) — have declined in the first three quarters of the current fiscal in comparison with the same period last fiscal.

According to the ministry official, average realisation from Basmati rice exports has fallen from $1,312 per tonne in FY15 to around $ 885 a tonne in the current fiscal. Even in the case of non-Basmati rice, the realisation has fallen to $ 364 a tonne in the April–December, 2015 period from $ 409 per tonne in the last fiscal.

The shipment of buffalo meat, the single largest export item from the agricultural sector in the FY15, has also declined by more than 10% to Rs 20,624 crore in April-December 2015. In the case of fresh fruits and vegetables, the export realisation in the three quarters of the current year have increased marginally by 2.6% to Rs 5,603 crore in comparison to last fiscal. The realisation from Guargum, mostly used in US- based oil exploration companies, has shrunk by more than 65% to Rs 2,700 crore in the current fiscal.

Meanwhile, the agricultural and processed food exports development authority (Apeda) has identified 20-odd clusters located across the country for sustaining growth in the exports of food products. These clusters include those for basmati (Haryana and Punjab), buffalo meat (western Uttar Pradesh), grape and wine (Nashik region, Maharashtra), pomegranate (Satara and Pune regions of Maharashtra), dehydrated onions and garlic (Gujarat), poultry or egg (Namakkal, Tamil Nadu) and mango pulp (Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra).

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