Agri exports & imports up despite pandemic

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India has consistently maintained trade surplus in agricultural products over the years. Indias agricultural and allied exports during 2019-20 were valued at Rs 2.52 lakh crore and imports at Rs 1.47 lakh crore. Even during the difficult time of the pandemic, India took care not to disturb the world food supply chain and continued to export. The export of agri and allied commodities during April 2020 to February 2021 were valued at Rs 2.74 lakh crore as compared to Rs 2.31 lakh crore in the same period of the previous fiscal, indicating an increase of 18.49%, highlighted a release.

The commodities that posted significant positive growth in exports were wheat, other cereals, rice (other than Basmati), soymeal, spices, sugar, raw cotton, fresh vegetables, processed vegetables, alcoholic beverages, etc.

Wheat and other cereals posted huge growth over the previous year, increasing from Rs 425 crore to Rs 3,283 crore and Rs 1,318 crore to Rs 4,542 crore, respectively. On specific demand from countries, NAFED exported 50,000 MT of wheat to Afghanistan and 40,000 MT of wheat to Lebanon under G2G arrangement. India witnessed tremendous growth of 727% in wheat export.

There was also significant growth of 132% in the export of (non-Basmati) rice, from Rs 13,030 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 30,277 crore in 2020-21. This is attributed to multiple factors, but the main being India capturing new markets like Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Chile and Puerto Rico. Exports were also made to Togo, Senegal, Malaysia, Madagascar, Iraq, Bangladesh, Mozambique, Vietnam, Tanzania Rep and Madagascar.

India also enhanced export of soymeal by 132%, from Rs 3,087 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 7,224 crore in 2020-21.

Some of the other commodities in the agri and allied basket that saw noteworthy increase in export during April 2020 to February 2021, as compared to the corresponding period in 2019-20, were spices (Rs 26,257 crore vs Rs 23,562 crore; growth 11.44%), sugar (Rs 17,072 crore vs Rs 12,226 crore; growth 39.64%), raw cotton (Rs 11,373 crore vs Rs 6,771 crore; growth 67.96%), fresh vegetables (Rs 4,780 crore vs Rs 4,067 crore; growth 17.54%) and processed vegetables (Rs 2,846 crore vs Rs 1,994 crore; growth 42.69%), among others.

Imports of agri and allied commodities during April 2020 to February 2021 were valued at Rs 1,41,034.25 crore as compared to Rs 1,37,014.39 crore in the same period last year, a slight increase of 2.93%.

Thus, despite Covid-19, the balance of trade in agriculture has favourably increased during April 2020 to February 2021 to Rs 1,32,579.69 crore as against Rs 93,907.76 crore in the same period of 2019-20, the release said.