The Union Commerce and Industry Ministry announced on Wednesday that India's agricultural exports, including marine and plantation products, have surpassed USD 50 billion for the fiscal year 2021-22, the highest level ever achieved for agricultural exports.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020 increased demand for staples, resulting in increased agricultural exports.
According to preliminary figures released by the DGCI&S, agricultural exports increased by 19.92% in 2021-22 to reach $50.21 billion, up from $41.87 billion the previous year. This accomplishment will help to realise the Prime Minister's vision of increasing farmer income.
Rice (USD 9.65 billion), wheat (USD 2.19 billion), sugar (USD (4.6 billion), and other cereals have achieved record exports (USD 1.08 billion).
Wheat has grown at an unprecedented rate of more than 273%, nearly tripling from $568 million in 2020-21 to close to $2119 million in 2021-22. Farmers in states such as Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and others have benefited from an increase in exports of these products. India now controls nearly half of the global rice market.
Exports of marine products are also at an all-time high, totaling USD 7.71 billion, benefiting farmers in the coastal states of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, and Gujarat.
Spice exports surpassed USD 4 billion for the second year in a row, while coffee exports surpassed USD 1 billion for the first time, improving returns for coffee farmers in Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
According to the ministry, in order to ensure that farmers benefit from exports, the Department of Commerce established the Farmer Connect Portal, which provides a platform for farmers, FPOs/FPCs, and cooperatives to interact with exporters. This has resulted in agricultural exports from previously unexplored areas, according to the report.
Varanasi (fresh vegetables, mangoes), Anantapur (banana), Nagpur (orange), Lucknow (mango), Theni (banana), Solapur (pomegranate), Krishna & Chittoor (mango), and other clusters have been exported. Initiatives such as the 'Happy Banana' train, an exclusive train with reefer containers that transports bananas from Anantapur to JNPT in Mumbai, have been implemented to increase exports from unusual areas.
According to the ministry, India was able to rise to the occasion and emerge as a reliable supplier of food during the pandemic because of the institutional framework already in place at the state and district levels, as well as special efforts made to overcome pandemic-induced bottlenecks. Even during the current crisis caused by the Russia–Ukraine war, the world is looking to India for wheat and other food grains, the report further added.
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