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Agri items' exports during April-Sept increase 43.4%

Despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the export of essential agri commodities registered an increase of 43.4 per cent for the cumulative period of April-September to Rs 53,626.6 crore as compared to Rs 37,397.3 crore in the corresponding period last year.

The achievement is the result of "consistent and concerted" efforts of the Central government to boost agricultural exports, the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement on Saturday.

Major commodity groups which have recorded a positive export growth during April-September this year are groundnut (35%), refined sugar (104%), wheat (206%), Basmati rice (13%) and non-Basmati rice (105%). Furthermore, the balance of trade during April-September this year has been significantly positive at Rs 9,002 crore as against a trade deficit of Rs 2,133 crore during the same period in 2019.

On a month to month basis (MoM), India's exports of essential agricultural commodities during September, 2020 have been Rs 9,296 crore against exports of Rs 5,114 crore during September, 2019, showing an increase of 81.7 per cent.

In order to boost agri exports, the government announced the Agriculture Export Policy, 2018 which inter-alia provides for a cluster-based approach for export-centric farming of cash crops like fruits, vegetables and spices whereby clusters for specific agri products are identified across the country and focused interventions are carried out in these clusters.

Eight Export Promotion Forums (EPFs) have been set up under the aegis of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) to boost exports of agriculture or horticulture products. The EPFs have been created on Banana, Grapes, Mango, Pomegranate, Onion, Dairy, Rice Basmati and Rice Non-Basmati.

The EPFs are making concerted efforts to identify, document particulars of, and reach out to stakeholders across the entire production or supply chain of export for increasing these exports significantly to the global market, through various interventions.

Recently, the government also announced an Agri Infra Fund of Rs 1 lakh crore to improve the agri business environment which will promote agri exports in due course. Besides, the Ministry said, the Department of Agriculture, Co-operation and Farmers Welfare has also prepared a comprehensive action plan or strategy for promotion of agri trade envisaging a two-fold approach viz. to boost agri exports with emphasis on value addition and a detailed action plan for import substitution..