The government will continue promoting the export of processed food products in place of raw agriculture commodities, said Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal while highlighting that the share of processed foods in the agri export basket has increased to 27 per cent from 14 per cent in the past decade.

After visiting stalls at the ongoing World Food India 2023 exhibition in Delhi, Barthwal said that over 1,000 buyers from abroad have come from 80 countries, including about 135 from the Middle East, at the invitation of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda), Marine Products Export Development Authority (Mpeda), Spice Board, Tea Board and Coffee Board.

He said the priority will always be for the government to ensure sufficient availability for the 1.4 billion people of the country, and only the surplus has to be exported. Since the better price realisation comes from processed foods, the government would like exporters to process those raw products in the country and ship them after converting them to value-added products as per global demand.

Apeda, government’s key agri export promotion body, on Friday, signed an MoU with LuLu Hypermarket to work agri products in the global market.

The MoU, aimed at boosting exports of agricultural products to the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCCs), was signed between Apeda Chairman, Abhishek Dev and Chairman-cum-Managing Director of LuLu Group, Mr Yusuf Ali MA at the World Food India 2023. The LuLu Group International (LLC) has its presence across the GCC, Egypt, India and the Far East with 247 stores in operation and 24 shopping malls.

As per the MoU document, LuLu Group will actively promote and showcase a wide range of products in APEDA basket of agricultural and processed food products in its retail outlets. A dedicated shelf space (special sections or aisles) will be allocated within LuLu stores to display Apeda’s products prominently and to enhance their visibility. Besides, Apeda and LuLu group will also engage with consumers through joint interactive events, sampling/tasting campaigns, season specific campaigns for fruits and vegetables, new product launch and the promotion of products arising from Himalayan/North Eastern States, organic products, according to an official statement by Commerce Ministry released Monday.

Apeda also facilitated signing of MoUs of Marketing Boards of Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Meghalaya as well as Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology with Lulu group aimed at boosting exports potential from Himalayan and North Eastern states, it said. Both Apeda and LuLu group would jointly facilitate export-oriented promotional programmes such as Buyer-Seller meets (BSM), trade fairs and road shows in association with the Indian missions abroad.

According to Apeda data, India’s export of 27 categorised products promoted by the agency has dropped 11 per cent to $ 10.54 billion during April-August of the current fiscal mainly due to curbs on wheat and non-basmati shipments.

Surpassing the target of $ 23.56 billion, exports of major agriculture and processed products (broadly divided under 27 categories) promoted by Apeda jumped 8.74 per cent to $26.72 billion during the last fiscal from $24.57 billion in 2021-22.