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Wheat and rice production (Mint)
Wheat and rice production (Mint)

Agri exports fell by 1.8% in Jun qtr

The decline was despite a 70% increase in the export of non-basmati rice and a 61% rise in the export of sugar

NEW DELHI : Lower exports of livestock and marine products led the decline in India’s agriculture exports in the June quarter of 2020-21, according to an analysis of government data.

Exports of major farm products were recorded at 43,894 crore between April and June, a fall of 1.8% from the year-ago period.

The overall decline in value is despite a 70% increase in the export of non-basmati rice and a 61% increase in the export of sugar.

Higher exports of rice and sugar are likely to benefit farmers, but they also stand to lose as livestock exports fell by 44% to 3,668 crore, while marine exports fell by 16% to 8,926 crore.

Source: DGCIS and APEDA website
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Source: DGCIS and APEDA website

The overall decline in farm exports was expected due to the covid-19 pandemic, which hit global demand and supply chains.

However, the numbers, computed by Mint from data published by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, and the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, are in sharp contrast to the numbers put out by the agriculture ministry.

Export of farm commodities increased sharply by 23% to 25,552 crore between March and June, the ministry said on 18 August.

“Even during the difficult time of the lockdown, India took care not to disturb the world food supply chain and continued to export," the ministry said.

It selected a four-month period of March to June as the reference period for analysis, but the difference in the value of exports is probably because of the exclusion of marine and livestock products, which witnessed a significant decline.

During this period, exports of buffalo meat and marine products fell by a steep 46% to 11,890 crore.

An analysis of the export numbers for the June quarter shows that the export value of cereals went up by 19%, while that of pulses and processed fruits and vegetables grew by 23%. Export of sugar increased by 61%, export of other processed foods and tea fell by 16% and 28%, respectively.

India has set itself an ambitious target of achieving $60 billion of farm exports by 2022. The Centre’s export strategy focuses on catering to niche global markets of wellness foods, development of ‘Brand India’ and an emphasis on value addition. India’s farm export basket accounts for just 2.15% of global agricultural trade, according to the Economic Survey.

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