New Delhi [India], April 24 (ANI): The achievement of reaching the highest-ever mark of USD 50 billion worth of agriculture exports was attained through multiple steps taken by the Department of Commerce to turn India into the food basket for the world, said Commerce Ministry officials on Sunday.
Speaking to ANI, the Commerce Ministry officials said that the previous highest mark was in 2013-14 at USD 43 billion after which the exports saw a free fall of sorts and suffered a USD 10 billion decrease in the figure by 2016-17 after which Department of Commerce identified four main reasons for the decrease in Agri-exports.
"First, there was a disconnect between production and export of agricultural produce. Second, the State Government and farmers were not well acquainted with the concept of export-oriented production," the officials said.
The Piyush Goyal-led Ministry also found out that the States were taking exports as the domain of the central government only and also the lack of agriculture export infrastructure and expertise with the state governments.
The Department of Commerce charted out a plan to address these issues and "for the first time reached out to not just the States but also at the district and village level farmers.
"Our officials spread awareness and informed farmers that if there would be a surplus agriculture produce, Government of India will export it as the government wanted to help agriculture and its allied sectors as they provide the largest source of livelihoods in India," the officials said.
Officials said the exports in the Agri sector have gone up despite the COVID-19 global pandemic where the demand for food had gone up globally but the issues of lockdowns closed offices and roads were creating huge issues.
"But Department of Commerce through Indian Missions abroad and interacted through Virtual Buyer-Seller meets, removed many bottlenecks, coordinated with port or customs or State or district authorities, etc., to meet the increased global demand," the officials said.
The officials said the Department of Commerce also supported States in identifying respective infrastructure bottlenecks, logistics constraints, requirements of post-harvest infrastructure etc. to address the same.
Further, steps were taken to identify new markets, increase footprint in existing markets, analyze requirements and tariff structure of the new markets, etc. They said that even though the country has reached USD 50 billion mark in Agri exports, the country has not yet reached its full potential in the export of agriculture products.
Due to the efforts of the government, in 2021-22, India exported around USD 10 billion in rice, with a 50 per cent share in the world's rice exports; the highest ever export of marine products (USD 8 billion), sugar (USD 4.5 billion), wheat (USD 2 billion) and coffee (USD 1 billion); USD 4 billion meat, dairy and poultry products exports, USD 4 billion spices exports and USD 3 billion cotton exports. (ANI)