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Focus: GS-III Indian Economy, Agriculture

Why in news?

  • Exports of agricultural commodities during March to June 2020 increased by 23.24% compared to corresponding period in 2019.
  • Ministry of Agriculture has prepared a comprehensive action plan towards promotion of agri-trade; the two-fold approach focuses on boosting Agri Export with emphasis on value addition and action plan for Import Substitution.
  • Export Promotion Forums for specific agri-products constituted under APEDA at the behest of Ministry of Agriculture.


  • Self-reliant agriculture is critical for the goal of an Atmanirbhar Bharat and for this, agricultural export is extremely important as besides earning precious foreign exchange for the country, the exports help farmers/producers/exporters to take advantage of wider international market and increase their income.
  • Exports have also resulted in increased production in agriculture sector by increasing area coverage and productivity.

Increasing trends

  • As per WTO’s Trade Statistics, share of India’s agricultural exports and imports in the world agriculture trade in 2017 was 2.27% and 1.90%, respectively.
  • The agricultural exports as a percentage of India’s agricultural GDP has increased from 9.4 % in 2017-18 to 9.9 % in 2018-19.
  • While the agricultural imports as a percentage of India’s agricultural GDP has declined from 5.7 % to 4.9 % indicating exportable surplus and decreased dependence on import of agricultural products in India.
  • There has been substantial increase in export of almost all the agricultural items in the last 15 years, but despite being one of the top producers of agricultural products, India does not figure among top exporters of agricultural produce.
  • To reach the ranks of top exporting nation in Agriculture, commensurate with the production, there is a clear and categorical need to take proactive interventions.

Some Examples:

  • India holds second rank in the world wheat production but ranks 34th in export.
  • Despite being world No. 3 in production of vegetables, the export ranking of India is only 14th.
  • India is the second largest producer of fruits in the world but export ranking is 23rd.

Steps taken

  • A detailed exploration of data and issues of pre-production, production, and post-harvest has been undertaken to evolve an end to end approach for developing a holistic strategy.
  • An analysis of product groups and then specific commodities has been done with regard to present status of production & exports, strengths, challenges and thereafter interventions have been identified after consultations with stakeholders.
  • The two-fold approach addresses boosting Agri Export with emphasis on value addition and focussed action plan for Import Substitution.
  • The interventions so identified have been converted into a timed action plan.

The Export strategy focuses on:

  1. Export promotion of fast evolving niche markets of Wellness food/ Health conscious food/nutraceuticals
  2. Development of “Brand India” in campaign mode to help penetration into new foreign markets
  3. Identification of Gulf countries as focus destination to increase the market share which is a strong market for India

Export Promotion Forums

  • At the behest of Department of Agricultural Cooperation & Farmers’ Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture, product specific Export Promotion Forums have been created to lead agri exports to new heights.
  • Each Export Promotion Forum shall be having exporters of the related commodity as its members along with official members representing concerned Ministries/Departments of the Central and State Governments.
  • Chairman APEDA shall be the chairman of each of these forums.
  • The forums will discuss/ make recommendations on issues pertaining to export of the respective commodity.
  • The Forums will constantly monitor and identify/anticipate developments in the external/internal situation pertaining to the production and export of their respective commodity and recommend /intervene for taking the necessary policy/ administrative measures.
  • The recommendations of the forum will be placed in the product committee / Authority of APEDA.
November 2023