Export potential of india’s agriculture sector
India’s agrarian culture and diverse climate types have made significant contributions to the global food basket. Mangoes, curries, snacks, and spices from India are famous all over the world. For a quick look at some data points, India leads the production of bananas, papayas, and mangoes in the world. It is also the largest milk producer and the largest producer of spices in the world. With regard to vegetable production, India stands second worldwide and tops the list for lady’s finger.
Apart from fulfilling domestic demand, Indian agricultural and horticultural produce, as well as processed foods, are exported to more than 100 countries in the world, particularly to countries in the Middle East, SAARC countries, the EU and the U.S. In the FY 2019, exports of agricultural and processed food products totaled USD 3.59 billion.
In India, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) is mandated with the responsibility of export promotion and development of several scheduled products which range from meat and meat products, pickles, papads and chutneys, dairy products, to floriculture and its products, and even herbal and medicinal plants. In tapping India’s agricultural strengths and expanding the export potential of its food products, APEDA plays a critical role. The agri-export policy has been framed with a focus on agriculture export-oriented production, export promotion, better farmer realization and balancing out with the policies of the Government of India.
Agri-processing and agri exports attain importance as a key area especially because post-harvest losses in India are high, and range from 8-18%. The reasons include poor post-harvest management, absence of cold chain and processing facilities. Rather than allowing produce to go waste, having a well-planned export system will help cut down losses and at the same time, earn revenue for the country. Also, a farmer-centric approach is required for improved income through value addition at source itself so that losses across the value chain can be minimized.
Its share in global exports of agriculture products has increased from 1% a few years back to 2.2% in 2016. Also, with agricultural production increasing faster than growth in domestic demand, the surplus for export is experiencing higher growth. A comparative analysis of India’s 10-year exports indicates a growth of 9% between the years 2007 and 2016, faring much better than China (8%), Brazil (5.4%) and the U.S. (5.1%). During this period, exports of coffee, cereals and horticultural produce doubled, while exports of meat, fish and processed products grew between 3-5 times. And yet, Indian Agri exports are lower than countries like Thailand and Indonesia with much smaller arable land area.
Despite this leading position that Indian agri-exports has earned, its total global agricultural trade accounts for a little over 2% of world agricultural trade. The reason is the inward-looking policies that focus more on food security and price stabilization, and also because exports are in bulk, and comprise low-value and semi-processed items. Exporting its vast horticultural produce has proved difficult due to a lack of uniform quality, standardization, and its inability to curtail losses across the value chain.
The way forward
For a successful agricultural export policy, one critical aspect would be to have a robust infrastructure with storage and processing facilities, good roads and world-class exit point infrastructure at ports to enable swift trade. The focus should also be on promotion of value-added, indigenous and tribal products. Marketing and branding of organic products and developing uniform quality and packaging standards for organic and ethnic products can also help. Moreover, it is important to promote R & D activities for new product development for upcoming markets, like fortification of food products. Skill development for the agri-processing and marketing and promotion of “Brand India” are the other initiatives that can catapult Indian Agri exports further. Other shifts required include improving promotional efforts – for example, Krishi Vigyan Kendras can be engaged to take export-oriented technology to farmers and creating awareness among farmers about export opportunities. Farmer Producer Organisations are yet another institutional innovation that can help smallholder farmers overcome the limitation of scale and thus extend their reach to distant markets.
Export potential of india’s Horticulture sector
India is second largest producer of fruits and vegetables with the share of 10% just after China (34%) followed by Latin American and Caribbean (11 %). Horticultural sector occupies about 8 % of India’s gross cropped area and account for 30% of agricultural gross (GDP). Horticulture production has increased by about 3 percent per annum. India produces about 6 percent of the world’s fruit and 11 percent of its vegetables. It is the world’s largest producer of mangoes, bananas, peas, and the second‐largest producer of broad range of vegetables including cabbage, ginger and okra.
consumption levels of fruits and vegetables in most of the developed countries have been witnessing positive growth since last decade leading them towards being the topmost importers of most of the fruits and vegetables exported by India. However, horticulture exports from India are not able to find place in these developed country markets which are the global importers except for minor share.
The concentration of Indian horticulture exports is majorly in the developing country markets. Amongst developing countries also major markets have been neighboring destinations wherein the bulk of Indian produce entering these markets is targeted at migrant low end worker community.
These neighboring countries include Bangladesh, Middle East and Saudi Arabia. Nepal receives majority of India’s exports of cauliflower, potatoes, banana, citrus fruits other than orange and lemon. UAE imports more than 60% of India’s exports of papaya, pineapple, sapota, lemon and pumpkins. Other major exporting countries for India for fresh fruits and vegetables are Malaysia, Singapore and Saudi Arabia.
It is because of this reason that despite experiencing fairly strong growth in production, India’s share in global horticultural trade was a mere 1.07 and 1.3 percent in case of fruits and vegetable respectively and is considered minor player in the international market. Further, although India exports a wide variety of horticultural products, only a handful of commodities or products account for the bulk of this trade. Also the unit value realization of Indian FFV are far below than the than that of many competing countries for instance Pakistan, Ecuador and China. This indicates the challenges of international competitiveness in terms of tariff as well as various types of non‐tariff measures.
The European Union, Japan, and the United States use, in varying degrees, similar protection tools: low but highly dispersed ad valorem tariffs, specific duties, seasonal tariffs, tariff escalation, and preferential access along with tariff‐rate quotas. However, average applied most‐favored‐nation (MFN) tariffs have lowered in all countries of the Quad—Canada, the European Union, Japan, and the United States. The horticulture export products hence are not facing high tariff barriers in the developed markets as against in the developing country markets any more.
Under WTO framework, trade flows in this area is provided by the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures. The SPS Agreement establishes a multilateral mechanism to protect human, animal, and plant health in World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries. It covers basic rights and obligations; harmonization; equivalency; risk assessments; pest‐ or disease‐free areas; transparency; control, inspection, and approval procedures; technical assistance; special and differential treatment; consultations and dispute settlement; administration; and implementation.
Export potential of india’s livestock sector
India has huge livestock population, in terms of trade it stands insignificant in the world trade of livestock products. However, it is to be noted that India has tremendous potential to produce and export various livestock products. The high potential of the domestic market coupled with marketing opportunities abroad due to the GATT provisions now render India to an enviable position to cater to the huge global market of livestock products, particularly dairy products. Earlier, the past trends in milk production and domestic consumption had indicated a possible exportable surplus of a modest level of 1,00,000 MTs of dairy products by the turn of the century.
There is no denying the fact that the adoption of several liberal policy measures by the Government in more recent times and the application of scientific production techniques have boosted India’s livestock production. However, the point that merits consideration is how did the structure of livestock production and exports of India changed over time and what future prospects India holds in the export trade of livestock products in the light of the rapidly changing world market conditions and in view of the various trade policy measures adopted by the various developed and developing nations.
Meat Production: India has also been showing a continuous increase in its total meat production. This is mainly because of considerable rise in non-vegetarian population over time. In India, various species of livestock such as cattle buffalo, sheep and goats, pigs and poultry birds are used for meat production.
As for the export trade of livestock products, there are also many issues that require fuller attention and discussion. For instance, is our livestock sector protected, what is its comparative advantage, what is its export potential, what are the tariff and non-tariff barriers to livestock exports, what should be the strategy for promoting export of live animals, livestock products, and livestock based manufacture.
There has been considerable increase in livestock exports of India after the late eighties, chiefly because of liberalization of trade and several trade policy changes coupled with surge in international prices of many livestock based products that gave real boost to Indian livestock exports. The upswing in livestock exports of India in due course of time has also filtered into significant increase in her share not only in Asia but also in World export trade. At the same time, for some of the livestock based commodities and for live animals, the share of India in Asia as well as in the World export trade has come down over time, e.g., bovine, sheep and goats among various live animals, and poultry meat, meat dried, salted and smoked and also canned meat among various meat and meat products.
Nevertheless, share of India in fresh, chilled and frozen meat export is noticed to have grown considerably not only in Asia but in the World too. Among various fresh, chilled and frozen meat, India’s export has grown more sharply in the case of fresh sheep meat, both in Asia and in the World trade of the same. This holds true both in quantity and value terms. Among various milk and milk products, dry milk, butter and ghee and to some extent condensed and evaporated milk export trade of India have grown significantly, both in Asia and in the World. In fact, the results of this study clearly indicate a marginal presence of India in World trade of majority of the livestock products. It is only in the case of bovine meat and also sheep and goat meat that India has shown a considerable share in the global trade of the same, particularly in quantity terms. In fact, India continues to remain as one of the leading bovine meat exporter not only in Asia but also in the World.
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