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Cereal exports: Focus on quality, infra push

Ruchika M Khanna

The agriculture sector confirmed its famed resilience even when the Covid-19 pandemic was at its peak. In an agrarian economic system like that of Punjab, agricultural manufacturing and the export of produce are giving a much-needed fillip to the economic system.

The export of basmati rice, kinnow and non-basmati rice sourced from the fields of Punjab, seed potato, some greens, honey and even processed meals like chilli paste and tomato paste has seen a surge up to now 12 months. The state’s meals producers and exporters haven’t solely consolidated their place within the abroad markets, however have additionally entered new markets overseas.

The information launched by the Ministry of Commerce and Business not too long ago exhibits that the export of rice, wheat and coarse cereals rose to Rs 49,832 crore throughout April-December 2020 (from Rs 32,591 crore reported throughout the identical interval in 2019). The export of non-basmati rice jumped by over 100 per cent, whereas the export of basmati rice was 19 per cent increased than within the corresponding interval of 2019. Although state-specific export information isn’t launched by the federal government, it’s estimated that almost all of basmati rice was exported from Punjab and the non-basmati selection exported was additionally sourced from the state.

Ranbir Singh, Basic Supervisor, Punjab Agri Export Company Restricted (PAGEXCO), says that apart from these cereals, the export of horticulture crops like kinnow, seed potatoes and processed meals like chilli paste and tomato paste, apart from honey, has proven a powerful development this 12 months. “As many as 56 containers of crimson chilli paste and 120 containers of natural basmati rice and wheat flour have been exported up to now this 12 months from the state. Europe, Australia and West Asian nations are trying on the state for sourcing agriculture produce,” he says. He provides that the surge in agri product exports from India is bound to interrupt China’s monopoly in world commerce, particularly in crimson chilli and tomato paste.

What has aided this surge, says Vinod Kaul of the All India Rice Exporters’ Affiliation, is the demand for foodgrains created throughout the developed world through the course of the pandemic. Many nations wished to construct their foodgrain shares and thus they began importing big portions of grains. “Additionally, nations comparable to Thailand and Vietnam banned the export of grains through the pandemic, however India continued with it,” he provides.

In December 2019, PAGEXCO had provide you with an Agriculture Export Coverage (AEP). It centered on having a medium-term to long-term technique to extend exports of agricultural produce from Punjab by strengthening back-end and front-end infrastructure to spice up the export of contemporary and value-added vegatables and fruits. It additionally talked of figuring out centered commodities and clusters for growing export-related infrastructure and undertake capability constructing of farmers in the direction of making them able to discover the markets overseas. In response to this coverage, the goal was to take Punjab’s exports to $4,997 million by 2027-28.

“We’re working in the direction of attaining these targets,” says BS Sidhu, Agriculture Commissioner, Punjab. “On the manufacturing facet, we’re constantly striving to scale back using crimson chemical substances in crops in order to deliver down the utmost residue restrict (MRL) of pesticides on grains and different crops. We’re changing dangerous pesticides with inexperienced ones in order to enhance the standard of our agricultural produce and make it prepared for premium export markets,” he provides.

Whereas high quality is being regarded into, exporters of meals merchandise from Punjab say that probably the most pressing authorities intervention required as of now’s the opening of the 2 worldwide airports for exports of agro meals to deliver down the freight prices post-lockdown which have led to monopolistic commerce by massive delivery traces. “The price of taking one container to Europe has gone up from $700-800 to $3,000 and the charges to the US have doubled to $4,000. Although now we have added new markets for basmati export like China and West Indies, we’re conscious that that is panic demand triggered by the pandemic. To maintain the demand, we is not going to solely have to enhance high quality of our produce, but additionally rationalise our prices, together with freight prices,” says Arvinder Singh, a number one basmati exporter from Punjab.

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