Increased exports of marine products along with a sustained rise in non-basmati rice exports has been a prime contributor to India’s outbound shipments of farm products which is likely hit a record $ 45 billion in FY22.
Between April and October in 2021, farm exports rose 24% from a year before to $ 27 billion. Dispatches of farm products grew almost 18% last fiscal to $ 41.9 billion, far outperforming a 7% drop in overall merchandise exports in the wake of the pandemic. Sustained growth in farm exports, which have often performed below par, remains critical to the country realising its ambitious merchandise export target of $ 400 billion for FY22.
Wider geographical spread, concerted push by the government and bumper farm production have ensured another year of strong exports.
Additionally, the government has reintroduced the Transport and Marketing Assistance (TMA) scheme for one year through March 2022 to soften the impact of a spurt in shipping costs over the past one year. Under this, the government reimburses farm exporters a certain portion of freight charges and offers assistance for marketing of select products. Rates of assistance under the revamped scheme, too, have been raised by 50% for exports by sea and 100% for those by air.
In the current fiscal, marine products, grains and cotton turned out to be the major drivers of farm exports. Between April and October, marine exports reversed last year’s slide and shot up by 37% to $ 4.6 billion, while non-basmati supplies grew by 47% to $ 3.5 billion. Similarly, exports of sugar rose by 34% to $ 2 billion, cotton by 106% to $ 1.2 billion, wheat by 439% to $ 872 million and castor oil by 40% to $ 722 billion.