In alignment with PM Narendra Modi’s vision to double farmers’ income by 2022-23, agricultural exports have started witnessing good momentum. In a recent report produced by the government of India, several horticultural products have registered remarkable growth, giving enough indication of things continuously being in the right direction for the farmers who constitute more than 50% of the population and the agriculture contributing around 15% of the GDP.
India’s goal is to grow steadily, trade freely, and advance peacefully. Agriculture export has the potential to transform the agricultural economy if it is effectively supported by infrastructure, institutional support, packaging, freight transport, and is linked to the internal production system and backed by market access.
India is the world’s second-largest horticultural producer, accounting for around 12% of worldwide fruit and vegetable production. As per National Horticulture Database (Second Advance Estimates) published by National Horticulture Board, during 2019-20, India produced 99.07 million metric tonnes of fruits and 191.77 million metric tonnes of vegetables.
Status of India’s exports of Horticultural Produce
The export of guavas has seen a record surge of 260%. Similarly, a growth of 200% in the export of curd and paneer from 2013 to April-January, 2021-22 was registered. Fresh Grapes are the largest exported items among all fresh food categories. During 2020-21, the export value of Fresh Grapes was USD 314 Million. Export of other Fresh Fruits stood at USD 302 Millon, Fresh Mangoes at USD 36 million and Others (Betel Leaves & Nuts) at USD 19 million. Fresh grapes and other fresh fruits accounted for 92 percent of India’s total fresh fruit exports from 2020 to 21.
India’s major exporting destinations of fresh fruits during 2020-21 were Bangladesh (USD126.6 Million), Netherland (USD 117.56 Million), UAE (USD 100.68 Million), UK (USD44.37 Million), Nepal (USD33.15 Million), Iran (USD32.54 Million), Russia (USD32.32 Million), Saudi Arabia (USD24.79 Million), Oman (USD22.31 Million) and Qatar (USD16.58 Million). During 2020-21, India exported fruits and vegetables worth Rs. 9,940.95 crores/ 1,342.14 USD Millions, which comprised of fruits worth Rs. 4,971.22 crores/ 674.53 USD Millions and vegetables worth Rs. 4,969.73 crores/ 667.61 USD Millions.
According to FAO (2019), India is the largest producer of ginger and okra amongst vegetables and ranks second in the production of potatoes, onions, cauliflowers, brinjal, Cabbages, etc. Other than Guavas, Grapes, Pomegranates, Mangoes, Bananas, Oranges also account for a larger portion of fruits exported from the country while Tomatoes and Green Chilly contribute largely to the vegetable export basket. The country has exported 296,169.83 MT of pulses to the world for the worth of Rs. 2,116.69 Crores/ 284.26 USD Mn during the year 2020-21.
India stepping up towards Organic Farming
The Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), Ministry of Commerce & Industries is implementing the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP). The programme includes accreditation of Certification Bodies, organic production standards, organic agricultural promotion, and marketing. According to the Ministry of Agriculture’s release in 2020, India ranks first in the number of organic farmers and ninth in terms of area under organic farming.
The country’s horticulture products are becoming more popular. This has happened as a result of concurrent developments in the areas of cutting-edge cold chain infrastructure and quality assurance measures. Capacity-building initiatives at farmers and the application of GI tags to various fruits and vegetables have also contributed to this effort.