What are the elements of the Agriculture Export Policy 2018
To promote the agricultural exports, the Government has introduced a comprehensive Agriculture Export Policy in 2018 with the following vision:
Harness export potential of Indian agriculture, through suitable policy instruments, to make India a global power in agriculture, and raise farmers’ income is the overall goal. Objectives of the Agriculture Export policy are as under:
i. 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. (India’s exports of agriculture and allied activities were valued at $38 billion in 2017-18.)
The recommendations in the Agriculture Export Policy have been organised in two categories – Strategic and Operational – as detailed below:
|Infrastructure and logistics support|
|Holistic approach to boost exports|
|Greater involvement of State Governments in agri exports|
|Focus on Clusters|
|Promoting value-added exports|
|Marketing and promotion of “Brand India|
|Operational||Attract private investments into production and processing|
|Establishment of strong quality regimen|
|Research & Development|
What is the current position?
Presently, marine products, basmati rice, buffalo meat, spices and nonbasmati rice make up 55% of the total agriculture export basket.
Though the export policy talks about best sellers like rice and meat and fringe items like grapes, bananas, vegetables and cashew as “high potential”, the government at present seems to be concentrating more on the latter, giving thrust to the cultivation of grapes, mangoes, chili, moringa, lemons and pineapples.
State the policies being followed now?
The Government has also brought out a new Central Sector Scheme – ‘Transport and Marketing Assistance for Specified Agriculture Products’ - for providing assistance for the international component of freight, to mitigate the freight disadvantage for the export of agriculture products, and marketing of agricultural products.
The Department of Commerce also has several schemes to promote exports, including exports of agricultural products:
1. Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES),
2. Market Access Initiatives (MAI) Scheme,
3. Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) etc.
In addition, assistance to the exporters of agricultural products is also available under the Export Promotion Schemes of Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), Tobacco Board, Tea Board, Coffee Board, Rubber Board and Spices Board.
What are the challenges and constraints?
1. Depressed international market for foodgrain, sugar, cooking oil as well as dairy and meat products.
2. GOI tends to open up imports whenever prices of crucial food items (potato, onion, pulses, etc) start climbing. This hurts local producers. The Indian government is always "pro-consumer", backing cheap imports to keep inflation in food prices low but it dampens investment
3. There are several instances of sudden increase in export duties to keep the stocks at home to stabilize prices but it hurts the exporter.
4. There are other issues too. India has subsidised sugar prices and can compete in the international market, but countries like Brazil will drag India to the WTO dispute settlement forum.