English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

India upholds food security for the world, pushes agri-exports during pandemic

India upholds food security for the world, pushes agri-exports during pandemic

India's agriculture exports are set to beat coronavirus-induced blues by crossing $25 billion in 2021. India is exporting rice to new markets including Africa, specially China and Vietnam after decades, while there is an increased demand of agricultural products and processed foods from the Middle East.

<a href="https://www.financialexpress.com/market/commodities/india-likely-to-export-10-mt-of-non-basmati-rice-in-2020-21-season/2164339/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>The Financial Express</em> </a>reported that 2020-2021 is likely to witness increased rice exports with non-basmati rice being picked up widely due to competitive prices. It quoted B Krishna Rao, president, All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) as saying: “Indian non-basmati rice varieties are around 10 per cent cheaper than other rice exporting countries such as Thailand and Vietnam (at $370-380 per tonne as against $460-470 a tonne in Thailand and Vietnam)…”

India is also exporting rice to African countries after major rice exporters like Thailand and Vietnam stopped exports during the pandemic. It will export 70,000 tonne rice to Vietnam and 150,000 tonne to Bangladesh. The latter is also importing Indian onions along with UAE, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and several other countries.

The government has kept export channels rolling even during the pandemic. The Ministry of Agriculture released a statement in August saying: "Even during the difficult time of pandemic lockdown, India took care not to disturb the world food supply chain and continued to export." The statement added that exports of agri-commodities increased by 23.24 per cent to Rs 25,552.7 crore during March-June 2020 as against Rs 20,734.8 crore in the same period a year ago.

<img class="wp-image-56343 size-full" src="https://indianarrative.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/LabourerOnions.jpg" alt="LabourerOnions" width="1000" height="664" /> A labourer carries a sack of onions in Kolkata on Nov 26, 2020 (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)

Trade Promotion Council of India's Chairman Mohit Singla said growth in India's agri-based and processed foods will sustain in 2021. "Indian exporters have extremely good order booking positions for food including processed food that is a clear indication that 2021 will be a good year for agri and food exports. We are getting good orders from Africa, Latin America, GCC countries and China," he told Indian news agency <em>IANS</em>.

With the government announcing the sugar export programme, the sugar industry hopes to achieve its target of 60 lakh tonne of sugar exports. The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said in a statement last month that there is an increase in demand from countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and even Iran.

India is also improving agriculture trade relations with neighbouring Bangladesh. It is exporting onions and rice to its eastern neighbour. Recently, Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways, Commerce &amp; Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food &amp; Public Distribution, while addressing an India-Bangladesh meet on agriculture said: "We are delighted that Bangladesh has now become self-sufficient in food, and the goal is to modernise agriculture. This is an area where we both should work with greater synergies and collaboration. Agriculture can have game-changing potential between our two countries. Bilateral cooperation in this sector can pave the way to overcome the current economic challenges."

The Agriculture Ministry has developed a Comprehensive Action Plan for the promotion of agri-trade. It has set up product specific Export Promotion Forums (EPFs) to push exports for eight agricultural and allied products including grapes, mango, banana, onion, rice, nutri-cereals, pomegranate and floriculture.

With economic sentiment improving owing to the availability of the coronavirus vaccine, exporters believe that agricultural exports will only look up in 2021..