Maharashtra unveiled its new Agriculture Export Policy (AEP) in line with the Centre’s directives to states to formulate region-specific policies with a focus on promoting exports of geographical indication- (GI) certified and ‘unique’, region-specific products.
The policy focuses on developing entrepreneurs in agri exports and diversifying the export basket to boost high-value and value-added agricultural exports. It also aims at providing an institutional mechanism for pursuing market access in addition to tackling barriers and deal with sanitary and phytosanitary issues.
“Around 26 agricultural products have been granted GI tag from the state and we will be working towards boosting exports of these products,” said Sunil Pawar, managing director of the Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board, which will function as the nodal agency for agri-exports promotion.
Maharashtra is the second-largest producer of fruits in the country with a production of 12%, and exports grapes, mangoes, pomegranates, onions and bananas.
GI registration provides exclusive right to the community concerned to promote and sell the products in world markets. Of the 417 GI certifications granted by India so far, around 150 belong to the agricultural and food sectors.
The state government has identified 21 clusters and sub-clusters which have a high potential of exports. These clusters will focus on fruits, including alphonso mangoes, kesar mangoes, pomegranates, grapes and oranges, pulses, oilseeds, jaggery, spices, dairy products, fisheries, cashews and raisins.
The Maharashtra export policy has pegged post-harvest losses at 5-10% for non-perishables and about 30% for perishables.
Since the AEP’s launch, 21 states and two Union Territories have finalised their state-specific action plans. In accordance with the Centre’s policy, Maharashtra has established a state-level steering committee under the chairmanship of the principal secretary, cooperation and marketing, and a cluster facilitation cell under the guidance of district collectors. The thrust of the policy is on developing product-specific clusters in various agro-climatic zones of the country to help deal with supply side issues.