Exports of agricultural products (including marine and plantation products) for the year 2021-22 have crossed USD 50 billion, highest level ever achieved for agriculture exports. As per the provisional figures released by DGCI&S, the agricultural exports have grown by 19.92% during 2021-22 to touch $50.21 billion. The growth rate is remarkable as it is over and above the growth of 17.66%, at $41.87 billion, achieved in 2020-21 and has been achieved in spite of unprecedented logistical challenges in the form of high freight rates, container shortages etc. This achievement over past two years will go a long way in realising the Prime Minister’s vision of improving farmers’ income.
Highest ever exports have been achieved for staples like rice (USD 9.65 billion), wheat (USD 2.19 billion), sugar (USD (4.6 billion) and other cereals (USD 1.08 billion). Wheat has recorded an unprecedented growth of more than 273%, jumping nearly four-fold from $568 million in 2020-21 to touch close to $2119 million in 2021-22. Increase in exports of these products has benefitted farmers in states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra etc. India has captured nearly 50% of the world market for rice.
Export of marine products, at USD 7.71 billion, is also the highest ever, benefitting farmers in the coastal states of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Spices exports has touched USD 4 billion for second year in a row. Despite facing tremendous supply side issues, coffee exports have crossed USD 1 billion for the first time, which has improved realisations for coffee growers in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
This achievement is the result of sustained efforts on the part of the Department of Commerce and its various export promotion agencies like APEDA, MPEDA and various commodity boards. The Department has made special efforts to engage State Governments and district administrations in promoting agriculture exports. In order to ensure that the farmers benefit from exports, Department of Commerce has made special efforts to provide export market linkage directly to farmers and FPOs. A Farmer Connect Portal has been set up for providing a platform for farmers, FPOs/FPCs, cooperatives to interact with exporters. This approach has resulted in agriculture exports taking place from hitherto unexplored areas. Exports have taken place from clusters like Varanasi (fresh vegetables, mangoes), Ananthpur (banana), Nagpur (orange), Lucknow (mango), Theni (banana), Solapur (pomegranate), Krishna & Chittoor (mango) etc. Initiatives like ‘Happy Banana’ train, an exclusive train with reefer containers to transport bananas from Anantapur to JNPT, Mumbai have been taken to boost exports from unconventional areas.
Outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic during first quarter of 2020 resulted in increased demand for staples, which provided an opportunity for increasing agriculture exports. Because of the institutional framework, already in place at State and district levels, and special efforts made to overcome the pandemic-induced bottlenecks, India was able to rise to the occasion and emerge as a reliable supplier of food. Even during the current crisis due to Russia–Ukraine war, the world is looking at India for supplies of wheat and other food grains.