Exports of farm products monitored by the Agriculture and Processed Foods Development Authority (Apeda) increased by a fifth to top $17.5 billion during the April-February period of the last fiscal compared with $14.5 billion in same period the previous fiscal. The exports growth is notwithstanding the supply disruptions caused by Covid-induced lockdown.

In rupee terms, exports grew 26 per cent to ₹1.30-lakh crore against ₹1.03-lakh crore in the same period last year.

Strong overseas demand for products such as non-basmati and basmati rice, groundnuts, pulses, dairy products, fresh vegetables and fruits among others contributed to the growth in the shipments. However, some major products such as buffalo meat and guargum declined.



Cereals, as a category, clocked the highest growth followed by processed fruits and vegetables, and floriculture and seeds, whereas the livestock products registered a negative growth. Cereals shipments rose 48 per cent to $8.75 billion during the period against $5.92 billion in the same period a year ago. In rupee terms, cereal exports were up 54 per cent at ₹64,952 crore (₹42,202 crore).

Total rice shipments exceeded 15 million tonnes (8.4 million tonnes) during the period. This surge was mainly due to the strong demand for non-basmati rice, which saw volumes more than double to 11 million tonnes (4.57 million tonnes).

The Indian non-basmati rice found favour with overseas buyers as other producers faced supply issues. “The exports are on expected lines. We expect the shipments for the fiscal 2020-21 to be around 12 million tonnes,” said BV Krishna Rao, President, The Rice Exporters Association. Though volumes of basmati rice saw an increase, the value of the shipments fell 6.24 per cent on decline in average realisations due to weak demand from Iran.

Also, wheat and maize exports registered a major growth during the year. Wheat shipments grew more than six times to $446 million ($60 million) on robust purchases from countries such as Bangladesh and Nepal. In volume terms, wheat shipments were up at 1.7 million tonnes during the period as against 0.2 million tonnes.

Categories that registered a growth during the period include fruit and vegetable seeds, pulses, dairy and processed items such as groundnuts, cereal preparations, milled products, alcoholic beverages, processed fruits and juices and vegetables among others.

Meat & Dairy items

Guargum exports saw a major decline of 46 per cent at $234 million due to weak demand from countries such as the US. Livestock products including buffalo meat, goat and sheep meat, processed meat and poultry products saw a decline both in volumes and value terms. Dairy products and animal casings were an exception among the livestock products registering a growth. Dairy exports were up by around 11 per cent at $285 million, while animal casings registered a growth of 5 per cent at $51 million.