India’s exports of agricultural commodities during the period of March-June of this year jumped 23.24 per cent to Rs 25,552.7 crore against an export of Rs 20,734.8 crore during the same period in 2019, as per the data released by the Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday.

The agricultural exports as a percentage of India’s agricultural GDP have increased from 9.4 per cent in 2017-18 to 9.9 per cent in 2018-19. While the agricultural imports as a percentage of India’s agricultural GDP has declined from 5.7 per cent to 4.9 per cent indicating exportable surplus and decreased dependence on import of agricultural products in India, the data showed.

The ministry has prepared a comprehensive action plan towards promotion of agri trade which aims at boosting agri export with emphasis on value addition and action plan for import substitution.

The export strategy focuses on export promotion of fast evolving niche markets of Wellness food or Health conscious food or nutraceuticals. It also includes, development of of “Brand India” in campaign mode to help penetration into new foreign markets and of new products which automatically translates into higher value realisation.

The government also aims to deepen its penetration in the Gulf countries, which is already a major market for India.

“Gulf countries have been identified as focus destination to increase the market share which is a strong market for India though presently India caters to only 10-12 per cent share of their total imports,” the release issued by the Agriculture Ministry said.

“A product market matrix has been made containing list of products of strength which could be expanded in new geographies and list of known markets which can be introduced with newer products,” it added.

As per WTO’s Trade Statistics, share of India’s agricultural exports and imports in the world agriculture trade in 2017 was 2.27 per cent and 1.90 per cent, respectively. Even during the difficult time of pandemic lockdown, India took care to not to disturb the world food supply chain and continued to export.

India holds second position in production of fruits and vegetables. It exports 8.23 Lakh MT (LMT) of fruits worth Rs 5,638 crore and 31.92 LMT of vegetables worth Rs 5,679 crores annually. Grapes occupy the premier position in fresh fruit exports followed by mango, pomegranate, banana, and oranges. The fresh vegetable export basket comprises onions, mixed Vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, and green chilly as the major items.

However, world trade of fruits and vegetables is US$208 billion and India’s share is miniscule.

“There is huge potential to increase export in fruits and vegetables. As such, specific strategy for export promotion has also been evolved for Fresh Fruits & Vegetables with specific emphasis on grapes, mango, pomegranate, onion, potato & Cucumber-Gherkin,” the Agriculture Ministry release said.

The agriculture ministry has created product specific Export Promotion Forums to lead agri exports to new heights. Export promotion forums (EPFs) for eight agri & allied products viz. grapes, mango, banana, onion, rice, nutri-cereals, pomegranate and floriculture.

These forums will be in active touch with the producers, exporters and other relevant stakeholders of respective commodities and hear their problems, and facilitate, support and provide solutions to them, the release said.

They will regularly study the market for respective commodities on a global basis, and identifying opportunities and developments or implications for domestic entities, and disseminate the same expeditiously to domestic producers and exporters, it added.