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.
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
“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
“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.
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
“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.