Agricultural exports: Despite logistical challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in the form of high freight rates, container shortages, and other factors, India’s agricultural exports exceeded USD 50 billion in 2021-22. The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), which is part of India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has made history by exporting agricultural and processed food products worth USD 25.6 billion, or 51 percent of the country’s total agriculture exports of USD 50 billion.
Furthermore, the APEDA exceeded its own export target of USD 23.7 billion for the fiscal year 2021-22, with shipments totaling USD 25.6 billion.
Agricultural exports increased by 19.92 percent from 2021 to 22 to reach USD 50.21 billion, according to preliminary figures released by the DGCI&S. The growth rate is remarkable because it exceeds the 17.66 percent growth rate of USD 41.87 billion achieved in 2020-21, and it was achieved despite unprecedented logistical challenges such as high freight rates, container shortages, and so on.
In Graph-1, you can see the export of APEDA scheduled products. It shows the APEDA product export comparison for the current year, 2021-22, and the previous year, 2020-21. In 2021-22, the cereal sector will account for more than 52 percent of APEDA exports. In 2021-22, livestock products and other processed foods account for 17 and 15% of APEDA exports, respectively.
The historic accomplishments of the past two years will go a long way toward realising Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of increasing farmer income.
When compared to total agricultural exports, APEDA’s exports increased by 16 percent from USD 22.03 billion in 2020-21 to USD 25.6 billion in 2021-22. Graph-2 shows the highest growth rate (more than 30%) for APEDA products in 2021-22 compared to the previous year.
According to DGCI&S data, rice exports were the top forex earner in 2021-22, bringing in USD 9654 million, up 9.35 percent from the previous year’s USD 8829 million.
Wheat exports reached an all-time high of USD 2118 million in 2021-22, up 273 percent from USD 567 million in 2020-21, while other cereals saw a 53 percent increase to USD 1083 million in 2021-22, compared to USD 705 million the previous fiscal year.
Agricultural exports increased
Pulses exports increased by 34% in 2021-22, reaching USD 358 million from USD 265 million in 2020-21. Dairy products increased by 96% from USD 323 million in 2020-21 to USD 634 million in 2021-22, while buffalo meat only increased by 4% as exports of bovine meat increased from USD 3171 million in 2020-21 to USD 3303 million in 2021-22.
Poultry exports increased by 34% to USD 60 million in 2021-22, up from USD 44 million the previous year. Sheep/goat meat exports increased by 34% to USD 60 million in 2021-22, up from USD 44 million the previous year.
Exports of fruits and vegetables increased by 12% to USD 1676 million in 2021-22, compared to USD 1492 million in 2020-21, while exports of processed fruits and vegetables increased by 7% to USD 1202 million in 2021-22, compared to USD 1120 million the previous year.
Other processed food exports increased by 34% to USD 1164 million in 2021-22, compared to USD 866 million in 2020-21. Cashew exports increased by 7% to USD 452 million in 2021-22, up from USD 420 million the year before. Floriculture products saw a 33 percent increase from USD 77 million in 2020-21 to USD 103 million in 2021-22.
Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, the United States, Nepal, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Iran, and Egypt are among APEDA’s major exporting destinations, according to data from 2021-22.
The significant increase in agricultural exports is viewed as evidence of the government’s commitment to increasing farmers’ income by focusing on agricultural and processed food exports.
The increase in agricultural and processed food exports is largely due to the Centre’s various initiatives through APEDA, such as organising B2B exhibitions in various countries and exploring new potential markets through product-specific and general marketing campaigns with the active participation of Indian embassies.
In collaboration with state governments, the government organised more than 300 outreach programmes aimed at increasing agricultural exports.
“We’ve also developed a product matrix for 50 agricultural products that have a lot of potential for expanding our export portfolios,” said APEDA Chairman Dr. M Angamuthu.
The Centre has also organised virtual Buyer Seller Meets on agricultural and food products with the major importing countries around the world to promote geographical indications (GI) registered with agricultural and processed food products in India.
The government has recognised 220 labs across India to provide testing services to a wide range of products for exporters in order to ensure seamless quality certification of products to be exported.
Centre assisting recognized Laboratories
The Centre also assists recognised laboratories in upgrading and strengthening their export testing and residue monitoring plans through APEDA. APEDA also assists with agricultural exports through financial assistance schemes for infrastructure development, quality improvement, and market development.
Exporters’ participation in International Trade Fairs was organised, giving exporters a platform to market their food products in the global marketplace. Agricultural exports were promoted through national events such as AAHAR, Organic World Congress, BioFach India, and others.
The government, under the auspices of APEDA, also initiates the registration of horticulture packing houses in order to meet the quality requirements of the international market. For example, registration of export units for peanut shelling, grading, and processing units ensures quality compliance for EU and non-EU countries.
APEDA also registers meat processing plants and abattoirs to ensure that they meet international food safety and quality standards. Another important initiative is the development and implementation of traceability systems that ensure importing countries’ food safety and quality compliance.
APEDA compiles and disseminates various international trade analytical information, market access information among exporters, and responds to trade inquiries in order to boost exports.
APEDA is collaborating with various ministries, including railways and roadways, as part of the PM Gati Shakti – National Master Plan, to improve connectivity through faster transportation of agricultural products, which are perishable in nature and require immediate and fast delivery to their destination from the production points.
APEDA has implemented several new digital technology-based initiatives playing key role in agricultural exports
APEDA has implemented several new digital technology-based initiatives in line with the government’s Digital India policy, which have played a key role in enabling agricultural exports worth $ 25 billion under its basket in 2021-22.
In the IT division, APEDA has implemented a number of world-class technologies and software, including Blockchain technology for hortinet traceability, the Farmer Connect Portal, the Geographical Indications (GI) Promotion Portal, the Mobile App, the iTrack System, TraceNet, the Organic Promotional Portal, the Agriexchange App, and Cloud Migration, among others.
Given the growing demand for natural products and consumers’ desire for larger quantities of foods, cosmetics, and medicines containing natural ingredients, the Centre is working with the Ministry of Agriculture to develop production standards as well as a certification system.
On APEDA’s website, a Farmer Connect Portal has been set up to allow Farmer Producers Organisations (FPOs) or Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs), Cooperatives, and women entrepreneurs to interact with exporters. So far, the portal has registered 3,295 FPOs and FPCs, as well as 3,315 exporters. APEDA has over 24 lakh organic farmers registered. India is the world’s leading producer of organic products.