IBEF: July 31, 2020
According to a report by the World Trade Centre, India can be among the top five exporters of agro-commodities by shifting its focus on cultivation and effectively handholding farmers.
The Government has also introduced some reforms in the farm sector by permitting farmers to sell produce outside the regulated APMC markets, and relaxing the Essential Commodities Act, among others, which can help boost exports.
The country ranked eighth with an annual agro exports of US$ 39 billion in 2019, after the EU (US$ 181 billion), the US (US$ 172 billion), Brazil (US$ 93 billion), China (US$ 83 billion), Canada (US$ 69 billion), Indonesia (US$ 46 billion) and Thailand (US$ 44 billion), quoted the WTC report.
The report added, "Through focused intervention in capacity-building, we can enhance our agro exports to surpass Thailand and Indonesia and become the fifth-largest exporter in the world".
In order to achieve this, the first step is to re-orient the role of the government extension centres — the 715 krishi vigyan kendras across the country and to handhold farmers in growing those varieties of crops that have demand in the global markets, added report.
The study noted that Indian consignments get rejected many a time because of the presence of pesticides above the prescribed maximum residual limits, Thus, farmers should be guided through Krishi Vigyan Kendras on prudential use of pesticides and other chemicals so that they conform to the global quality standards.
"Having attained self-sufficiency in agriculture, we need to re-orient our extension services system, which was developed in the days of the green revolution that focused on attaining self-sufficiency in farm production," the report said.
It further added that it is time we move towards growing quality food for the global markets rather than quantity.
One of the major areas could be cultivating horticulture crops that abide to the quality, colour, shape, and chemical contents acceptable in foreign countries or which are fit for further processing.
India is the second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables, but the share in global exports is under 1.8 per cent. It is the largest producer of papayas, lemons, and limes; however, we meet hardly 3.2 per cent of the world papaya demand, 0.5 per cent for lemons and limes, according to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization.
It was seen that India made remarkable progress in exports of niche items like capsicum chilly, castor oil, tobacco extracts, and sweet biscuits, apart from basmati rice, meat, and marine products in the past decade.
"These success stories should be and can be replicated in other potential food items," the report concluded.
Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.