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Will consistently export farm products without any disruption, India assures UN FAO

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New Delhi: India has assured the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) it will consistently export farm products without any disruption to ensure steady global supply during Covid-19 pandemic.

India’s agricultural export rose by 23.24% to Rs 25,553 crore during in March-June this year, while many countries suffered a disruption in output and supply.

Agriculture commissioner S K Malhotra assured that India had enough stocks to avoid any disruption. “We will not let any disruption happen in global supply. We are well prepared to step up farm exports as we have enough stocks,” he said during the virtual meeting of FAO’s 35th Asia-Pacific regional Conference (APRC).

He said the government is focusing on wellness food and nutraceuticals while developing “Brand India” in campaign mode to help penetration into new foreign markets and of new products which automatically translates into higher value realisation.

“Agricultural exports as a percentage of India’s agricultural GDP has increased from 9.4 % in 2017-18 to 9.9 % in 2018-19. While the agricultural imports as a percentage of India’s agricultural GDP has declined from 5.7% to 4.9 % indicating exportable surplus and decreased dependence on import of agricultural products in India,” he told ET.

As per WTO data, share of India’s agricultural exports and imports in the world agriculture trade in 2017 was 2.27% and 1.90%, respectively.

The government’s agriculture export policy launched in 2018 focuses on cluster based export promotion of novel, indigenous, organic, ethnic, traditional and non-traditional agricultural products including value added perishables.

“There is limited scope of export in food grains. We can export rice which we are doing. But our wheat is not competitive at global market and we produce pulses just enough to meet our requirements. We have to focus on niche products with high value,” said an agriculture ministry official, who deals with export directly.

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