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Export of non-basmati rice to Southeast Asia jumped 105% in 2020

New Delhi; July 25: Major Southeast Asian nations have become prime markets for non-basmati rice from India as export to these destinations between April and November grew by 105.20 per cent because of the thrust on exploring new markets.

Exports to Malaysia amounted to USD 107.25 million compared to USD 16.71 million during April to November, 2020, registering an increase of 541.99 per cent. Indonesia, where the exports were practically non-existent during 2019-20, also started imports of Indian rice. These encouraging developments were shared by the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce headed by Rajya Sabha MP V. Vijayasai Reddy.

In its 162nd action taken report, tabled in Parliament last week, the committee mentioned the proactive steps initiated by the Centre to explore potential markets overseas for export of agriculture products.

The Parliamentary panel had earlier flagged shoddy performance of export in the agriculture sector and unscientific growth that compromised with quality.

In its submission before the panel, the government listed several measures it initiated to boost export including exploration of new markets and destinations.

It said that three virtual buyer seller meets were organised with UAE, Kuwait and Indonesia through Indian embassies that facilitate Indian exporters engagement with the importers of respective countries.

“The import criteria of the identified countries were examined and the trade was sensitized before the meetings were organised,” the panel was informed.

An Export Promotion Forum (EPF) for rice was also set up under the aegis of The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority  (APEDA) to address the issue of stakeholders’ participation in the decision-making process for export promotion activities, the government informed to the panel.

As part of sustained mesures to boost export, sixteen major states in the country have finalized state specific action plans to sell agriculture produce overseas which includes extending support and incentives as well as providing scientific inputs for quality production.

The government said 10 top products and 20 potential products from agriculture sector have been identified for export under the Agriculture Export Policy (AEP). The AEP seeks to address the challenges in exporting agriculture products. It is being implemented in collaboration with with the state governments, various Ministries and Departments and organizations of the Government.

Sixteen States, which have finalised the state specific action plans under AEP are Maharashtra, U.P, Kerala, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Manipur, Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

State Level Monitoring Committee (SLMC) has been formed in 20 States and 1 UT, even as 26 states and 4 UTs have nominated respective nodal agencies for implementation of AEP. Similarly, Cluster Level Committees have been formed in 20 clusters identified under the AEP.

Responding to the other observation of the parliamentary panel on giving equal emphasis for export of fruits and vegetables, the government said that the APEDA-led efforts have ensured exports of fruits and vegetables from several land-locked clusters employing multimodal means of transport.

For instance, fresh vegetables and mangoes from Varanasi have been exported for the very first time. Exports have also taken place from other clusters such as oranges from Nagpur, banana from Theni and Anantpur, mango from Lucknow.

Export Promotion Forums (EPF) for banana, grapes, mango, onion and pomegranate have also been established under the aegis of APEDA.

Department of Commerce is, however, of the view that stable export policy is required to promote export of fruits and vegetables. This is because frequent bans on export of onion, which is the largest item in India’s export basket of fruits and vegetables, have affected exports.