Price tags are seen on the samples of pulses that are kept on display for sale at a market in Mumbai, India. Reuters
India’s agriculture exports (including marine and plantation products) have beaten the pandemic registering a growth of 17.34 per cent to $41.25 billion in 2020-21, a top commerce ministry official said on Thursday.
Speaking to the media, commerce secretary Anup Wadhawan said that excellent growth of Agri exports in the financial year 2021 (FY21) has come after it remained stagnant for the past three years ($38.43 billion in 2017-18, $38.74 billion in 2018-19 and $35.16 billion 2019-20).
In rupee terms, the increase is 22.62 per cent with exports during 2020-21 amounting to Rs3.05 lakh crore as compared to Rs2.49 lakh crore during 2019-20.
India’s agricultural and allied imports during 2019-20 were $20.64 billion, and the corresponding figures for 2020-21 are $20.67 billion. Despite COVID-19, the balance of trade in agriculture has improved by 42.16 per cent from $14.51 billion to $20.58 billion.
For agriculture products (excluding marine and plantation products), the growth is 28.36 per cent with exports of $29.81 billion in 2020-21 as compared to $23.23 billion in 2019-20.
India has been able to take advantage of the increased demand for staples during the COVID-19 period.
Huge growth has been seen in export of cereals with export of non-basmati rice growing by 136.04 per cent to $4794.54 million; wheat by 774.17 per cent to $549.16 million; and other cereals (millets, maize and other coarse gains) by 238.28 per cent to $694.14 million.
Other agricultural products, which registered a significant increase in exports as compared to 2019-20, were oil meals ($1575.34 million -growth of 90.28 per cent), sugar ($2789.97 million - growth 41.88 per cent), raw cotton ($1897.20 million - growth 79.43 per cent), fresh vegetables ($721.47 million - growth 10.71 per cent) and vegetable oils ($602.77 million- growth 254.39 per cent) etc.
The largest markets for India’s agriculture products are the USA, China, Bangladesh, UAE, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Nepal, Iran and Malaysia. Exports to most of these destinations have registered growth, with the highest growth being recorded for Indonesia (102.42 per cent), Bangladesh (95.93 per cent) and Nepal (50.49 per cent).
Export of spices like ginger, pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, saffron etc., which have known therapeutic qualities, has also grown substantially.
During 2020-21, export of pepper increased by 28.72 per cent to $1269.38 million; cinnamon by 64.47 per cent to $11.25 million; nutmeg, mace and cardamom by 132.03 per cent ($189.34 million vs $81.60 million); and ginger, saffron, turmeric, thyme, bay leaves etc. by 35.44 per cent to $570.63 million.
Export of spices touched the highest ever level of around $4 billion during 2020-21.
The organic exports during 2020-21 were $1040 million as against $689 million in 2019-20, registering a growth of 50.94 per cent. Organic exports include oil cake/meals, oil seeds, cereals and millets, spices and condiments, tea, medicinal plant products, dry fruits, sugar, pulses, coffee etc.
Exports have also taken place from several clusters for the first time. For instance, export of fresh vegetables and mangoes from Varanasi and black rice from Chandauli has taken place for the first time, directly benefitting farmers of the area.
Exports have also taken place from other clusters viz. oranges from Nagpur, bananas from Theni and Ananthpur, mangoes from Lucknow etc.
Despite the pandemic, export of fresh horticulture produce took place by multimodal mode and consignments were shipped by air and sea to Dubai, London and other destinations from these areas. Handholding by the Department for market linkages, post-harvest value chain development and the institutional structure such as FPOs, enabled North East farmers to send their value-added products beyond the Indian borders.
Cereal exports have done well during 2020-21. The country has been able to export to several countries for the first time. For example rice has been exported to countries like Timor-Leste, Puerto Rico, Brazil, for the first time. Similarly wheat has been exported to countries like Yemen, Indonesia, Bhutan and other cereals have been exported to Sudan, Poland Bolivia.
Meanwhile the India’s foreign exchange reserves rose by $5.271 billion during the week ended May 28.
According to the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) weekly statistical supplement, the reserves increased to $598.165 billion from $592.894 billion reported for the week ended May 21.
India’s forex reserves comprise foreign currency assets (FCAs), gold reserves, special drawing rights (SDRs), and the country’s reserve position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
On a weekly basis, FCAs, the largest component of the forex reserves, edged higher by $5.010 billion to $553.529 billion. Similarly, the value of the country’s gold reserves gained by $265 million to $38.106 billion. Besides, the SDR value gained by $2 million at $1.515 billion.
On the other hand, the country’s reserve position with the IMF inched lower by $5 million to $5.016 billion.
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