Agriculture Trade Deficit Turns Positive as Farm Exports from India Jump by 43%

Despite the Covid pandemic, figures for agricultural exports show a positive picture. Agriculture trade deficit turns positive as farm exports from India jump by 43%.

Increase in Farm Exports

The union agriculture ministry revealed that exports of essential agricultural commodities increased by 43.4% to Rs 53,626.6 crore during the April-September period of fiscal 2019-20. The country exported agricultural products worth Rs Rs 37,397 crore in the same period last year. The data further revealed that the balance of trade in April-September is positive at Rs 9,002 crore as against a trade deficit of Rs 2,133 crore during the same period in 2019. The country witnessed an increase of 23% in the export of essential Agri commodities in the first quarter of this fiscal, including 68 days of lockdown.

Major Contributors

Wheat and non-basmati rice topped the list of major essential agricultural exports with a 206% and 105% increase, respectively. Also, other commodities with a significant share in the export basket include refined sugar (104%), groundnut (35%), onion (17%), and basmati rice (13%). Notably, basmati and non-basmati rice together accounted for 57% of India’s export of essential Agri commodities during April-September. However, tea and potato exports registered a decline of 13% each during April-September this year.

Government’s Efforts for Boosting Exports

The government announced Agriculture Export Policy in 2018. The policy Identifies clusters of cash crops and then carries out focused interventions in these clusters. Also, it has set up eight export promotion forums under APEDA to boost exports of horticulture products. Moreover, the government also announced the Agri Infra Fund of Rs. 1 lakh crore to develop agriculture-related infrastructure, eliminating wastage and bolster exports of agricultural commodities. Further, the Department of Agriculture, Co-operation, and Farmers Welfare is working on a detailed action plan for import substitution.

Data for marine and livestock exports have not been released yet by the government. Hence, given the disruptions in the supply chain of livestock commodities, the actual performance of the agricultural exports will be known only after the complete data is disclosed.

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