Speaking to the media, commerce secretary Anup Wadhawan said that excellent growth of Agri exports in FY21 has come after it remained 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).
In rupee terms, the increase is 22.62 per cent 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, the 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 a 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.
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%), 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 the highest ever level of around USD 4 billion during 2020-21.
The organic exports during 2020-21 were USD 1040 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, 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.