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Government Aims to Revitalize Agricultural Exports, Targets 20 Key Items Including Bananas and Mangoes

agricultural exports

Amidst a significant slump in India's agricultural exports by nearly 9 per cent during the April to February period of FY24, dropping to $43.7 billion, the government has unveiled ambitious plans to invigorate exports of 20 select items. These items, including bananas, mangoes, potatoes, and baby corn, are identified as having substantial growth potential in global markets.

The downturn in agricultural exports has been attributed to a confluence of factors including the Red Sea crisis, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and domestic constraints. Responding to these challenges, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has initiated comprehensive strategies to bolster the export prowess of the nation's agricultural sector.

"We have identified 20 products. At present, India’s share is low in global exports. We are working on detailed action for all these products. India’s share is about 2.5 per cent in global exports, and the aim is to increase it to about 4-5 per cent in the coming years," stated Rajesh Agarwal, Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The selected items, ranging from fresh grapes to buffalo meat, collectively represent a significant segment of India's agricultural output. Despite accounting for $9.03 billion in exports in 2022, there remains ample room for expansion, especially considering the global demand, which reached $405.24 billion for these commodities in the same year.

In a bid to optimize export logistics and reduce costs, the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) is actively collaborating with various institutions to establish sea protocols for key items like ginger, pineapple, mangoes, and oranges. Such protocols aim to facilitate the transportation of perishable goods via sea routes, potentially unlocking new markets and enhancing competitiveness.

"Developing sea protocols reduces the logistics cost for export of horticulture produce to long-distance markets and enables a quantum increase in exports of items like bananas, mangoes, pomegranates, and other fresh fruits and vegetables," explained APEDA Chairman Abhishek Dev.

While the agricultural sector faced headwinds due to export bans and restrictions on commodities like rice, wheat, sugar, and onions, positive growth trends were observed in several categories. Basmati rice, for instance, experienced a remarkable 22 percent surge in exports, climbing from $4.2 billion in April-February 2022-23 to $5.2 billion in April-February 2023-24.

Despite the challenges posed by geopolitical uncertainties and domestic policies, the government's proactive measures signify a determined effort to rejuvenate India's agricultural exports. By leveraging its rich agricultural diversity and tapping into global demand trends, India aims to carve a more significant niche in the international market, ensuring sustained growth and prosperity for its farming community and the economy at large.

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