‘Agriculture Export Policy, 2018’ to harness export potential of Indian agriculture
Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Hon’ble Minister for Commerce and Industry has come out with the first ever policy for agriculture exports which removes export restrictions for organic, agro processed products and gives special preference to high value, value added, perishable products.
“This is a forward-looking policy and we as the country’s only F&B focused trade promotion body welcomes it,” says Mohit Singla, adding that “TPCI is the only trade promotion body that has been working towards pushing organic exports since last two years to fetch the growing business across developed and developing economies and has been advocating the need for more spending on branding of products and commodities specific to India.”
The Union cabinet on Thursday had announced the ‘Agriculture Export Policy, 2018’ in which it has approved an export policy for agriculture, lifting all restrictions on organic and processed food, with an aim to help the government’s efforts to double the farmers’ income by 2022. The policy also seeks to invest Rs. 1,400 crore to set up specialized clusters in different states for different produce to push exports.
TPCI had been advocating the need for setting up specialized clusters during various suggestions given to ministry from time to time. A draft report on agricultural enclaves for boosting agricultural exports, prepared by TPCI, had talked in detail of the need to develop specific clusters. “One of these tools (for better promotion of exports) is the promotion of clusters. An agro-based cluster (AC) is simply a concentration of producers, agribusinesses and institutions that are engaged in the same agricultural or agro-industrial sub-sector, and interconnect and build value networks when addressing common challenges and pursuing common opportunities. This cluster is identified on crop basis which an economy can produce, but this is not matched with the global demand. Mapping of requisite food which are demanded by the net food importing economies is missing in the working mechanism of clusters,” said the report, further elaborating that “Agricultural Enclave is an analogous concept with some augmentations. To bolster economic specific agricultural exports, an economy needs to prepare itself to match all standards and quality.”
Besides being the only organization pushing organic exports from India for more than two years now, TPCI had also been advocating of a need for branding of agri-products and commodities specific to India by increasing their visibility. Says Singla: “Various other countries have branded their agri-produce and other commodities and India is yet to embark on a mission to brand its products, on lines of several products from other countries. I am pleased to know that the Government has finally come up with a policy that mentions the need for branding of our products in the international market. This is sure to give a big boost to export of Indian agri-products.”
Indusfood, which has been developed as the “World Food Supermarket” jointly with Ministry of Commerce & Industry, has been envisaged keeping in mind India’s great agri-export potential and together with the Source India events that TPCI holds in various markets of the world, TPCI is working aggressively to increase India’s export to the envisaged targets in the Report.
TPCI had also been talking of a need to have a market intelligence digital data platform for sharing the global demand supply information incorporating alerts on changes in NTBs. Some other points that TPCI had been advocating and have been incorporated in the ‘Agriculture Export Policy, 2018’ include need for product specific clusters to match destination specific exports, adopting common quality and standards by taking EU’s and developed economies’ standards as benchmark, making test centres and labs accessible, and working out tie-ups with food regulatory authority of food importing economies.
Besides removing export restrictions for organic, agro processed products, the ‘Agriculture Export Policy, 2018’, aptly being termed as the first ever policy for agricultural exports, has several salient features that are surely going to give a big boost to India’s agricultural export. It talks of the need to give special preference to high value, valued added, perishable products, mentions need for setting up clusters in states for several commodities which will act as growth centres, asks State Governments to remove restrictions such as mandi tax and identifies several ports as being nodal points for exports.
Some of the specified objectives of the ‘Agricultural Export Policy, 2018’ are: to double agricultural exports from present US$30 Billion to US$60 Billion by 2022 and reach US$100 Billion in the next few years thereafter, with a stable trade policy regime; to diversify our export basket, destinations and boost high value and value added agricultural exports including focus on perishables; to promote novel, indigenous, organic, ethnic, traditional and non-traditional Agri products exports; to provide an institutional mechanism for pursuing market access, tackling barriers and deal with sanitary and phyto-sanitary issues; to strive to double India’s share in world agri exports by integrating with global value chain at the earliest; and, to enable farmers to get benefit of export opportunities in overseas market.
The Policy is envisioned to “harness export potential of Indian agriculture, through suitable policy instruments, to make India global power in agriculture and raise farmers’ income.” The focused approach of the Government to turnaround the Indian agri-export market is visible and given time India is most likely to achieve the envisioned objectives, feels TPCI.