The Union Cabinet on Thursday cleared a new agriculture export policy, which aims to double agri exports from the country by 2022 by boosting infrastructure and removing export restrictions currently exist on a variety of commodities.
Announcing the decision, Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said the government has decided to remove export restrictions on most organic and processed agricultural products, barring commodities other than those identified as essential from the food security perspective such as onions. The idea is to give an assurance that organic or processed agriculture products will not be under any export restrictions such as export duty, export bans and quota restrictions.
He said that it was for the first time that India has gone for such a policy and it is line with the government’s promise to doubling farmers’ income by 2022. Better branding would be undertaken under the policy to promote exports.
The agri-related exports from the country this year is expected to be worth around $37 billion, which was $7 billion more than that in last the fiscal. “Considering that there was 20 per cent growth in exports has taken place this year, achieving $60 billion by 2022 would be possible. This would be further taken to $100 billion in the next few years thereafter, with a stable trade policy regime,” Prabhu said.
The Cabinet has also approved the proposal for establishment of monitoring framework at Centre with Ministry of Commerce as the nodal department with representation from various line Ministries/Departments and Agencies and representatives of concerned State Governments, to oversee the implementation of agriculture export policy.
According to the Ministry, total outlay for the implementation of the policy would ₹1,400 crore, which exists already under different schemes. Besides, the Centre would work closely with the State governments to help them make good use of the policy.
The policy seeks to diversify the country export basket and destinations, by boosting high value and value- added agricultural exports, including focus on perishables. Currently, rice, meat and marine products account for more than 50 per cent of Indian agri exports.
To achieve this, the government plans to provide an institutional mechanism that would pursue market access, tackle barriers and deal with sanitary and phytosanitary issues that come up from time to time.
The emphasis would also be given to promote the export of novel, indigenous, organic, ethnic, traditional and non-traditional agri products, the Minister said. .
Besides, putting in place adequate policy mechanism, it would seek to provide infrastructure and logistics support to exporters. The States would be urged their Agricultural Produce Market Committee acts and remove mandi taxes applicable on export-oriented goods. On the infrastructure front, the government would identify ports that are handling agri exports.
Stress would be given to follow cluster-based models and efforts would be made to attract private investments into production and processing.