New Delhi, 10 June 2021: Secretary, department of Commerce, Government of India Dr Anup Wadhawan today said that Agriculture Exports have performed well during 2020-21. During the media interaction, he informed that after remaining stagnant for the past three years (USD 38.43 billion in 2017-18, USD 38.74 billion in 2018-19 and USD 35.16 billion 2019-20), the export of agriculture and allied products (including marine and plantation products) during 2020-21jumped to USD 41.25 billion,indicating an increase of 17.34%. In INR terms, the increase is 22.62% with exports during 2020-21 amounting to Rs. 3.05 lakh crore as compared to Rs. 2.49 lakh crore during 2019-20. India’s agricultural and allied imports during 2019-20 were USD 20.64 billion, and the corresponding figures for 2020-21 are USD 20.67 billion. Despite COVID-19, balance of trade in agriculture has improved by 42.16% from USD 14.51 billion to USD 20.58 billion.

For agriculture products (excluding marine and plantation products), the growth is 28.36% with exports of USD 29.81 billion in 2020-21 as compared to USD 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% to USD 4794.54 million; wheat by 774.17% to USD 549.16 million; and other cereals (Millets, Maize and other coarse gains) by 238.28% to USD 694.14 million.

Other agricultural products, which registered significant increase in exports, as compared to 2019-20, were oil meals (USD 1575.34 million -growth of 90.28%), sugar (USD 2789.97 million – growth 41.88%), raw cotton (USD 1897.20 million – growth 79.43%), fresh vegetables (USD 721.47 million – growth 10.71%) and vegetable oils (USD 602.77 million- growth 254.39%) etc.

Largest markets for India’s agriculture products are USA, China, Bangladesh, UAE, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Nepal, Iran and Malaysia. Exports to most of these destinations have registered growth, with highest growth being recorded for Indonesia (102.42%), Bangladesh (95.93%) and Nepal (50.49%).

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% to USD 1269.38 million; cinnamon by 64.47% to USD 11.25 million; nutmeg, mace and cardamom by 132.03% (USD 189.34 million vs USD 81.60 million); and ginger, saffron, turmeric, thyme, bay leaves etc. by 35.44%  to USD 570.63 million. Export of spices touched highest ever level of around USD 4 billion during 2020-21.

The organic exports during 2020-21 were USD1040 million as against USD 689 million in 2019-20, registering a growth of 50.94%.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, banana from Theni and Ananthpur, mango from Lucknow etc. Despite the pandemic, export of fresh horticulture produces 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 Departmentfor 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. We have 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, etc. for the first time. Similarly wheat has been exported to countries like Yemen, Indonesia, Bhutan, etc and other cereals have been exported to Sudan, Poland Bolivia, etc.

Measures taken during COVID-19 pandemic

  • APEDA, MPEDA and the commodity boardsprovided blanket extension of validity of various recognitions/ accreditations viz, packhouse recognition, peanut units registration, registration -cum- membership certificates,integrated meat plant recognition, registration of plants for export of rice to China and USA, certifications and accreditations under the National Programme for Organic Production etc. to ensure uninterrupted exports.
  • Arrangements were also made for online issuance of various certificates required for exports.
  • During Covid-19 lockdown (2020), a 24*7 emergency response cell was created in APEDA/ Commodity Boards to help exporters in addressing their issues related to movement of consignments/trucks/labor, issuance of certificates, lab testing reports, sample collection etc. In the first week of the lockdown itself, the cell received around one thousand calls regarding various issues faced by the exporters and sorted them out by taking up with the concerned authorities viz. State administration, Customs, Ports, Shipping, DGFT etc. and ensured the real time clearance of exports
  • During the lockdown period in 2020, virtual inspections were introduced for new pack house applicants. The validity of existing pack houses was extended, without inspections, based on the past performance. Around 216 Pack houses have continued to function uninterrupted, without the process of physical inspections and compliances. During the current COVID-19 wave also, automatic extension of recognition to the pack houses has been allowed. Around 100 pack houses, whose period of recognition was expiring, have benefited, providing relief to exporters of horticulture products.
  • During the pandemic, the Export Inspection Council and Export Inspection Agencies have ensured that the services offered to the exporters’ fraternity, such as issuance of certificate for export, health certificates and certificate of origin, are delivered in timely and smooth manner.
  • In order to promote ease of doing business, the process of minimizing regulatory compliances and decriminalization of various offence has been initiated.
  • As international trade fairs are not being organised due to COVID-19 pandemic, APEDA has developed, in-house, a platform for organising virtual trade fairs (VTF) to establish contact between Indian exporters and importers. Two VTFs – ‘India Rice and Agro Commodity Show’ and India Fruits, Vegetables & Floriculture Show have already been organised. APEDA would be organising following VTFs also during 2021-22:Indian Processed Food Show; Indian Meat and Poultry Show; Indian Organic Products Show.
  • In order to facilitate exporters in various regions of the country, APEDA opened following Regional/ Extension/ Project offices during 2020-21:Chennai, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad,kochi, J&K, Extension Office in Bhopal, and Project Office in Varanasi.
  • The Department has constantly synergized with the Ministry of Food Processing Industries for effective utilization of Operation Green scheme, which has been extended to most of the horticultural crops due to COVID-19. Similarly, the Department has also collaborated with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Railways in utilization of KrishiUdan and Krishi Rail respectively, to ease out pressure of high freight rates. The effort resulted in smooth movement of perishables to the important Middle East, EU and South East Asian markets. The Krishi Rail project has decisively helped exporters of fresh fruits and spices from the North Eastern States.
  • Even during the lockdown in several states, it is being ensured that all the accredited Certification Bodies under the National Programme for Organic Production are operational through electronic mode. The accreditation of Certification Bodies has been extended by 3 months, enabling them to access and operate the online traceability system and issue certificates.

Implementation of Agriculture Export Policy and Export Promotion Measures

The first ever Agriculture Export Policy (AEP) was introduced by the Government in December 2018.As a part of the process of implementation of AEP, eighteen States viz. Maharashtra, U.P., Kerala, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Manipur, Sikkim, Nagaland, Mizoram and Uttarakhand and the 2 UTs viz Ladakh and Andaman & Nicobar Islands have finalized the State specific Action Plan. The State Level Monitoring committee has been formed in 25 States and 4 UTs. 28 States & 4 UTs have nominated respective Nodal agencies for implementation of AEP.

Cluster Development

As part of the Agriculture Export Policy, 46 unique product-district clusters have been identified for export promotion.29 Cluster Level Committees have been formed in different clusters.

Cluster activation for export:DoC intervened through APEDA for linking FPOs & exporters for activation of clusters. After the said linking, transportation/logistics issues were solved and exports took place from land locked clusters.

Following are some of the success stories:

  • Varanasi cluster (Fresh Vegetables): Till date, 48 MT of Fresh Vegetables (green chilly, long guard, green peas & cucumber), 10 MT of Mangoes (Banarasi, Langra, Ramkheda&Chausa)  and 532 MT of Black rice have been exported from the cluster through FPOs.
  • Ananthpur Cluster (Banana): During the recent season (Jan-April 2021), 30,291 MT of banana have been dispatched from Ananthpur in Andhra Pradesh through 9 reefer rail movements and exported to Middle East.
  • Nagpur cluster (Orange): 115 MT of Nagpur Oranges and 45 MT of Ambiyabahar season Oranges have been exported to Middle East Countries by sea (for the first time) and supplied to top supermarkets i.e. Lulu Super mart, Safari Mall, Nesto, etc.
  • Lucknow cluster (Mango): 80.25 MT of mangoes (Dasheri, Langra, and Bombay green) have been exported to Middle East countries.
  • Theni cluster (Banana): During the last one year till date, 2400 MT of Cavendish and 1560 MT of G9 &Nendran banana have been exported from the cluster.
  • Pomegranate Cluster, Maharashtra – Export of Pomegranates from Solapur cluster was 32,315 MT during the year 2020-21.
  • Mango Cluster, Andhra Pradesh – In the current season, a consignment of Banganapalli (GI certified) &Survarnarekha mangoes sourced from farmers in Krishna & Chittoor cluster districts was exported to South Korea. Total 109 MT mangoes was exported to Middle East, EU, UK, and New Zealand from the cluster.  During this mango season, a total quantity of 4000MT of mangoes was transported from Krishna cluster district, Andhra Pradesh to Delhi by rail.
  • Mango Cluster, Telangana – So far, more than 100 MT of fresh mangoes have been exported to EU, UK, Middle East.
  • Rose Onion cluster, Karnataka – Around 7168 MT of Rose onions have been exported to Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka from October 2020 to December 2020.
  • Banana Cluster, Gujarat – From April 2020 till date, 6198.26 MT of fresh banana has been exported to Middle East countries-. Bahrain, Dubai, Georgia, Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, Iraq etc. from the cluster comprising Surat, Narmada & Bharuch.
  • Banana Cluster, Maharashtra – During 2020-21, 3278, 280 & 90 containers of Banana have been exported from Solapur, Jalgaon & Kolhapur respectively.
  • Onion Cluster, Maharashtra – During January to 15April 2021, 10,697 MT of fresh Onions has been exported to multiple destinations in SE Asia, Middle East, Bangladesh.
  • Grapes Cluster, Maharashtra – During 2020-21, so far, 6797 containers of 91,762 MT of fresh grapes have been exported to EU from Nasik cluster district. 1013 containers of 13,884 MT and one container of Raisin have been exported from the cluster district of Sangli to EU and other countries.

These clusters have been activated by utilizing the existing resources, with little or no additional investments. Exports from these clusters are taking place on regular basis.

Country specific agri export strategy reports: An interaction was carried out with 60 Indian Missions and stakeholders to identify the products, their potential and way forward for preparing the country-wise agri-export strategy.

Report on product-specific measures: A detailed analysis was carried out to address the requirements of SPS/TBT issues existing in trade, for boosting exports of India. The report titled “Tariff Disadvantages of India’s Agricultural Exports” is based on the potential export products identified for boosting exports under AEP.

Virtual Buyer Seller Meets – Twenty four V-BSMs have been organized with UAE, Kuwait, Indonesia, Switzerland, Belgium, Iran, Canada (Organic products), UAE & USA (GI products), Germany, South Africa, Australia, Thailand, Oman, Bhutan, Azerbaijan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Netherlands, Brunei and Cambodia (Animal products). E-catalogues were released while each BSM having details of participant exporters, importers, Trade associations.

Virtual Trade Fair (VTF) -APEDA took an initiative to develop its own Virtual Trade Fair (VTF) application. The virtual platform will provide an opportunity for agri importers of several countries and our exporters to interact through participation. The first Virtual Trade Fair was organized for Cereals product sector during 10-12thMarch 2021. The VTF for Fresh fruits and vegetables was held from 27-29thMay2021.

Agri Cells at different Embassies of India-APEDA is consulting 13 Agri Cells in our Missions in different countries seeking inputs on real-time basis to further strengthen the existing Market Intelligence cell. The consolidated reports received from Agri Cells are being referred to while preparing the strategy pertaining to the specific countries.

Farmer Connect Portal: A Farmer Connect Portal has been set up on APEDA’s website for providing a platform for FPOs/FPCs, cooperatives to interact with exporters. Around 2360 FPO/FPCs and 2324 exporters have been registered so far.

Focus on Middle East

For promoting agriculture to the Middle East countries, country-specific Agri Export strategy has been prepared in consultation with the Indian Missions in these countries.  Virtual Buyer Seller meets were organised in the potential countries in association with Indian Missions of the respective countries for providing a virtual platform to the Indian exporters for interacting with potential importers.  Such VBSMs were organised in seven countries of the Middle East viz. UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran.  This has provided a virtual platform to the exporters and importers for interaction further for conducting business.

A virtual meeting on Strategy for increasing exports of Agri products in the Gulf region was organised with the Indian Embassies of GCC Countries (Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE & Bahrain) on 20thMay 2020. The India Brand Equity Foundation is planning a marketing campaign for Indian agriculture products in the Middle East countries.

India’s largest agriculture exports to GCC countries are rice, buffalo meat, spices, marine products, fresh fruits & vegetables and sugar. India’s exports of non-basmati rice to GCC countries in 2020-21 increased by 26.01%. Spices export grew by 52.39% and sugar by 50.88%. In spite of export of livestock products and marine products being severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, overall agriculture exports to GCC countries grew by 7.15%.

Market Access

The Department has been making efforts, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare, for gaining market access for Indian products in markets.India has recently gained market access for pomegranate in Australia; mango and Basmati rice in Argentina; carrot seeds in Iran; wheat flour, basmati rice, pomegranate arils, mango, banana and soyabean oilcake in Uzbekistan; tomato, okra and onion in Bhutan; and oranges in Serbia.

Focus on new products

Efforts are being made to expand India’s export basket of agricultural products and promote export of products unique to India. Following are a few examples:

  • Organically certified Moringa Leaves powder (2 MT) and seven unique value added products of Moringa Vacuum Freeze Dried Ethnic Village rice from Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu to multiple destinations of Australia, Vietnam and Ghana.
  • Commercial consignments of the patented ‘village rice’ sourced from Kumbakonam was exported to Ghana & Yemen via air & sea routes.
  • The first consignment of Red Rice (40MT) was shipped to USA.Iron rich ‘Red rice’ is grown in Brahmaputra valley, Assam (referred to as Bao-dhaan)
  • Flavored jaggery powder (4MT) was exported to USA.
  • The first consignment of millets grown in Himalayas, Uttarakhand has been exported to Denmark.
  • In the current season, a consignment of Banganapalli (GI certified) &Survarnarekha mangoessourced from farmers in Krishna & Chittoor districts of Andhra Pradesh was exported to South Korea on 06May, 2021.
  • Geographical Indication (GI) certified DahanuGholvadSapota (200kg) sourced from farmers in Dahanu-Gholvadtaluka of Palghar, Maharashtra was exported to UK.
  • Shahi Litchi from Bihar was exported to United Kingdom, by air, on 24 May, 2021.
  • Fresh jackfruit (1.2 MT) was exported from Tripura to London.
  • A sea consignment of value added products of organically certified gluten free jackfruit powder & retort packed jackfruit cubes was exported to Germany from Bengaluru.
  • Exports of Saffron and dry fruits from the UT of Jammu and Kashmir to Saudi Arabian FMCG LuLu Group International.
  • Jamun fruit (black plum-500kgs) was sent to London by air for the first time from Lucknow, U.P.
  • A consignment of groundnuts(24 MT) exported to Nepal from West Bengal for the first time by road. The consignment was sourced from farmers of West Midnapore district.

Ensuring adherence to EU norms for export of Basmati rice to EU

Pesticide residue problems have affected Basmati rice exports to EU due to stringent norms imposed by EU for chemicals like Tricyclazole and Buprofezin, which are extensively used in rice cultivation in India.EIC testing has been made mandatory for Basmati exports to EU, which led to decrease in the number of alerts.As a result of constant follow-up by DoC, the Government of Punjab imposed a ban on sale of 9 chemicals, including tricyclazole and buprofezin, during the Kharif season 2020.

APEDA, in collaboration with the trade bodies, has taken measures to create awareness in the Basmati growing areas. Efforts are also being made to ensure that the process for fixing Import Tolerance Limits (ITLs) for Tricyclazole and Buprofezin by EU is not delayed.