In the first seven months (April-October) of the current financial year (2021-22), India’s wheat exports in terms of volume rose by more than 527 per cent to 3.2 Million Tonne (MT) from 0.51 MT reported during the April-October period of 2020-21. In terms of value, India’s wheat exports in the current fiscal (April – October) rose by 546 per cent to $ 872 million from $ 135 million reported during the same period of the previous fiscal.
In the current financial year (2021-22), India’s wheat exports are expected to achieve an all-time record high as it has already surpassed the shipment of 2.09 MT achieved during 2020-21.
With India being the world’s top rice exporter, wheat exports have witnessed a 48.56 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) during 2016-2020. The country’s wheat exports touched $ 243 million in 2020 against $ 50 million in 2016, according to ITC Trade Map, 2021 data.
India’s wheat exports are mainly to neighbouring countries with Bangladesh having the largest share of more than 54 per cent in both volume and value terms in 2020-21. In 2020-21, India entered new wheat markets such as Yemen, Afghanistan, Qatar and Indonesia.
The top ten importing countries for Indian wheat in 2020-21 are Bangladesh, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Afghanistan, Qatar, Indonesia, Oman and Malaysia, according to data by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCIS). The top ten countries which accounted for more than 94 per cent of India’s wheat exports in 2016-17, now have 99 per cent share in exports in 2020-21 both volume and value terms.
Though India is not among the top ten wheat exporters in the global trade, its rate of growth in exports has surpassed that of all these countries, indicating the rapid strides it is taking in reaching new markets worldwide.
The rise in wheat exports has been achieved because of the Agricultural Products Exports Development Authority (APEDA) taking up various initiatives such as organizing B2B exhibitions in different countries, exploring new potential markets and initiating marketing campaigns with the active involvement of Indian Embassies.
“We are giving thrust on building infrastructure in the value chain for giving boosts to cereal exports in collaboration with the state governments and other stakeholders such as exporters, farmer producer organizations, transporters etc,” Dr M Angamuthu, Chairman, APEDA said.
India accounts for even less than one per cent of world wheat export. However, its share has increased from 0.14 per cent in 2016 to 0.54 per cent in 2020. India is the second-largest producer of wheat with a share of around 13.53 per cent of world total production. India produces around 107.59 MT of wheat annually while a major chunk of it goes towards domestic consumption.
The unit price of wheat also plays an important role in international trade. While the unit export price of wheat has increased for all countries in the last five years, India’s unit export price is slightly higher than that of other countries. This is one of the factors adversely impacting wheat exports from India.
APEDA has been focusing on facilitating shipments by Indian exporters and helping them make inroads into new markets. In March 2021, it organized its first Virtual Trade Fair – India Rice and Agro Commodity Show, where participation of wheat exporters was also organized. Since physical meetings cannot be organized due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been organizing a series of virtual buyer-seller meets with Embassies, importers, exporters and product associations from India in the last two years. The virtual sessions involved wheat exporters also. A sensitization programme for wheat startups was organized to familiarize them with export opportunities.
In order to ensure seamless quality certification of products to be exported, APEDA has recognized 220 labs across India to provide testing services for a wide range of products and exporters.
APEDA also assists in the up-gradation and strengthening of recognized laboratories for export testing and residue monitoring plans. APEDA also provides assistance under the financial assistance schemes of infrastructure development, quality improvement and market development for boosting the export of agricultural products.