Indian cereal exports, particularly wheat exports, became more profitable as world prices rose. The global cereal price index of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is currently at 125.1, the highest level since May 2014.
Despite the Covid blues, India exported a record 19.8 million tonne (MT) of rice and wheat in FY21, owing to favourable overseas prices and massive domestic surplus production. In a pandemic year, the government’s stockpile of official inventory (used mostly for welfare programmes) ensured that no export restrictions were imposed. There was an almost 4% increase in basmati exports to 4.45 MT and a 160% surge in non-basmati to 13.09 MT in FY21, according to data with Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda). In value terms, while the non-basmati rice segment more than doubled to $4.8 billion ( Rs 35,448 crore), even higher than basmati, there is a drop of 7% to $4 billion (Rs 29,849 crore) in shipments of aromatic varieties