India planning to double agri exports in five years

August 18th, 2009 - 6:15 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) Despite the ongoing drought conditions and the global recession, India is working on doubling its agricultural exports to $18 billion in five years from now.
“Starting this year, we want to double our exports turnover from $9 billion to $18 billion,” aid Asit Tripathy, chairman of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), said here Tuesday.

APEDA is the government’s agri export promotion agency.

“The products that will be in focus are grapes, pomegranates, dehydrated onions, mango pulp, honey, poultry, egg powder,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a workshop on Achieving Exponential Growth in Agro Products.

With exports worth $9.57 billion, the share of exports from India in the global market is about 1.28 percent.

According to an APEDA statement, agri exports from India during 2000-06 grew by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 18 percent. This comprises 10 percent of the total merchandise exports from the country.

With an estimated turnover of Rs.400 billion for the year ended March 2009, India has registered a growth of about 25 percent in rupee terms as compared to the previous year.

However, despite being the third largest producer of food, India ranks 20th in food exports.

“Indian exporters need to gear up to the next level. There remain various challenges in front of the government in terms of increasing the productivity, economy of scale and meeting global standards on quality and food safety,” APEDA stated.

Tripathy added that APEDA was embarking on an end-to-end farming for exports.

“We are working on end-to end solutions in clusterised areas,” he said, pointing out that it would not be practical to implement the scheme across the length and breadth of the country at once.

“One area we are working on is horticulture, which is worth Rs.5,000 crore. We are financing research and development projects in those clusters,” Tripathy said.

Stating that the need of the hour is to develop end-to-end solutions, he said: “We have to ensure that the product is not only produced, but also processed. Then, the cost of transportation from the factory to the ports and airports has to be cheap.”

“So we are working on improving ICDs (inland container depots), cold chain integration and deeper vans. We have almost completed building centres for perishable commodities (CPCs) in all major airports in the country.”

Director-General of Foreign Trade R.S. Gujral, who was also present, said the government has to be flexible in its agri-products policies as it has to maintain a fine balance between the farmers and consumers.

“The government has given the largest incentives to agri-products in the last five years,” he said.

Monday’s one-day workshop is being attended by all major stakeholders of the agri exports sector. Separate sessions are being organised on processed foods, fresh produce, livestock products and agri commodities.

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