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Horticulture exports jump in Apr-Feb

Business Standard:  April 10, 2017

Mumbai: India is stepping up horticulture (fruit and vegetables) exports with improvements in quality and a focus on a market-specific approach.

The data compiled by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) show India’s exports of fresh fruit have jumped 20.95 per cent in volumes and 17.4 per cent in value during the period between April 2016 and February 2017.

This shows a sharp reversal in trends until last year, when importers overseas were monitoring the quality of horticulture products from India. Many buyers in the European Union and West Asia had suspended imports of fruit and vegetables from India on grounds of quality. 

Horticulture has a 10 per cent share in India’s agri and processed food exports recorded by Apeda.

“India has become quality-conscious. Indian horticulture products like fruit and vegetables were not allowed in a number of countries earlier. For example, grapes and mangoes from India were not exported to the European countries. But, market access has been provided now. Most importantly, Indian exporters are focusing on organic products, which have greater demand overseas and also fetch higher realisations. All these have helped India perform well. Still, India is nowhere near its potential and we can look forward to a big jump in horticulture exports,” said Ajay Sahai, director-general and chief executive officer, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).

India’s exports of fresh vegetables declined to 699,600.34 tonnes in 2015-16 from 953,731.22 tonnes in 2013-14. 

“We have been working closely with farmers in Maharashtra. We train and help them to adopt the best technologies in cultivating grapes. Over the years, we have been able to build a strong farmer outreach programme, having moved up from 12 growers in 2004-05 to more than 600 today. Each year, we are seeing an increase in the number of farmers approaching us for advice in cultivating exportable grapes,” said Ashok Sharma, managing director and chief executive officer, Mahindra Agri Solutions Ltd, an agri arm of Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M).

The entry of large companies including M&M into the farm-to-fork business has helped grapes exports. India’s fresh grapes exports shot up to 156,218.34 tonnes in 2015-16 from 107,257.81 tonnes in the previous year.

“Apart from fresh fruit, India must explore exports of processed horticulture products,” said a senior industry official.

India’s exports of cereals have declined or witnessed marginal growth with shipments of basmati rice falling by a marginal 3.4 per cent in volumes and over 14 per cent in value in the period between April and February.

Exports of non-basmati rice, however, rose by a marginal 2.2 per cent and 4.94 per cent in volume and value terms, respectively. 

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.