India`s agriculture exports plunge 6%

Published on : February 10, 2017 Topic : Business
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PUNE: India's agriculture exports declined by almost 6 per cent from $10.81 billion during April to November 2015-16 to $ 10.20 billion for the same period this fiscal, according to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority data.
Experts cited demonetisation, along with high Indian export prices and government's removal of export incentives, as some of the major causes for the dip.
Export of 16 key agricultural products from the country — including fresh vegetables and seeds, pulses, wheat, milled products, Basmati rice, cereals — registered negative growth between April to November 2016-17. This is the second fiscal of de-growth in agri exports for India. India's farm exports, which were growing consistently during past years, have been witnessing a fall since 2015-16.
In terms of US dollars, exports of pulses, guargum, milled products and basmati rice during this period declined by 13.05 per cent, 26.37%, 32.00% and 16.33% respectively, as per official data.
The decline in wheat exports was 65.68%, while that in other cereals was 28.93%. As many as 16 main agriculture products were in the negative zone, the data showed.
The country's overall exports declined from $14.49 billion in April to November 2014-15 to $10.81 billion in April to November 2015-16 and finally to $10.20 billion in April to November 2016-17. Exports of agri products fell by a significant 19.26% in the entire fiscal 2015-16 in comparison to 2014-15.
The slide in export has continued well into 2016-2017, with some experts citing demonetisation in November last year, as one of the reasons.
An exporter of Basmati rice, grains, fresh fruits and vegetables to the Gulf said, "The effect of demonetisation on exports was visible within a couple of days. The overnight decision also created a sort of distrust among importers."
A top source from the Indian Oilseed and Produce Export Promotion Council (IOPEPC) said that several agricultural products would have recorded a higher growth with incentives in place. "Hence, the export growth in peanuts between April to November 2016 was around 18%, but could have been much better," he said.
IOPEPC sources said that uncompetitive pricing of products offered by India, increasing consumption in the country and government stopping export incentives for many countries over the last year have also made a dent in India's agri exports.
Sources from Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) said, "Several countries have raised their standards of the quality they expect from export products, which small-time exporters cannot meet. Apart from that, demonetisation affected exports in November and December last year, when issues cropped up in several labour-intensive segments, which depend heavily on enough cash flow to get work done."
Nagamani, senior manager at a company exporting chickpeas, said that the drop in the export of pulses in 2016 was mainly due to high chickpea prices last year, which doubled in comparison to 2015.
Export of all pulses, except chickpeas is banned, said Bimal Kothari, vice-chairman, India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA). "IPGA has therefore approached the government to allow export of all the pulses from this year, in view of the bumper crop in Kharif and Rabi seasons this fiscal," said Kothari.

Source: The Times of India
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