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Farm Export policy will be unveiled soon to boost exports to sixty billion US Dollars per year

The Agriculture export policy, under formulation by the Commerce Ministry in consultation with other nodal ministries will focus on multiple reforms in the farm sector to boost production with an aim to double the country’s exports in the next four years from thirty billion to sixty billion US Dollars per annum..

The host of reforms proposed under the policy includes export centric cluster approach to focus on identified farm products so that its production could be intensified and they could be easily shipped out of the country from that particular cluster. Over fifty unique products where the country is more than self sufficient have been identified for giving a thrust to exports.

The list identifies different group of districts for different products on the basis of their production strength and potential in particular areas. For example, it identifies Pune, Nasik and Sangli districts of Maharashtra as a cluster for grapes while selects Nagpur (Maharashtra) and Abohar and Fazilka in Punjab for orange and puts Muzaffarpur (Bihar) in the list of 50 clusters for litchi.

Similarly, it lists districts for marine products, rubber, fenugreek, mint, turmeric, tea, coffee, tomato, potato, pineapple, ginger and onion among others.

“Export centric cluster is likely to result in a more focused pre and post-harvest management of production as well as in upgrading supply chain to attain much higher levels of export from those clusters,” says the draft which has been in public domain since March.

The draft policy also seeks to address concerns of international buyers by suggesting that the government may refrain from ad-hoc bans or export restrictions due to domestic price movements, an issue which has often hit Indian farm exports. It cites the instance of losses to non-basmati exports due to three-year (2008-11) ban to substantiate its argument.

In the backdrop of follow-up action on the draft, the country for the first time, was moving towards having an agriculture export policy so that Indian farmers can strongly compete with others in the global market.

“We have given our inputs on the draft to the commerce ministry which is expected to unveil the final agriculture export policy very soon,” said an official of the agriculture ministry.

Aiming to increase the share of agricultural exports from the present over $30 billion to over $60 billion by 2022, the draft moots various reform measures. Among them it suggests developing uniform quality and packaging standards for organic and ethnic products, establishment of a strong quality regimen, creation of agriculture start-up fund and setting up an agency like the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) to “frame, regulate and implement policies related to both agricultural production and trade”.

“It may be worthwhile to work towards similar agencies in India which is all encompassing in nature covering both domestic and international market so as to have a calibrated approach in export and imports,” says the draft.

The policy not only seeks to tap India’s traditional ayurvedic food systems for exports, it also emphasizes on popularizing various ready-to-eat packaged items like pickles, namkeens, samosas, kababs and poha among others for international markets.

“Markfed has been successful in exporting large volume of branded, canned Indian cuisine like ‘sarson da saag’ in countries such as US, UAE and Canada. Similarly, popular cuisine in different regions could be marketed in large volumes in overseas countries,” says the draft.

It also pitches for short-listing 10 commodities as “focus commodities” for specific farm, infrastructure and market intervention for exports. It identifies shrimps, meat, basmati rice, bananas, pomegranate and certain medicinal herbs as commodities of “very high potential” in this category.


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