India has consistently maintained trade surplus in the agricultural products over the years. India’s agricultural and allied exports during 2019-20 were Rs. 2.52 lakh crore and imports were Rs. 1.47 lakh crore. Even, during the difficult times of COVID-19 pandemic, India took care not to disturb the world food supply chain and continued to export. The export of agricultural and allied commodities during Apr, 2020 – Feb, 2021 were Rs. 2.74 lakh crore as compared to Rs. 2.31 crore in the same period last year indicating an increase of 18.49 percent.
The commodities which posted significant positive growth in exports were wheat, other cereals, rice (other than Basmati), soya meal, spices, sugar, raw cotton, fresh vegetable, processed vegetables and alcoholic beverages.
Wheat and other cereals posted huge growth over last year, i.e., increasing from Rs. 425 crore to Rs. 3,283 crore and Rs. 1,318 crore to Rs. 4,542 crore, respectively. On specific demand from countries, National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) has exported 50,000 metric tonnes (MT) of wheat to Afghanistan and 40,000 MT wheat to Lebanon under G2G arrangement. India has witnessed tremendous growth of 727 percent for wheat export.
Country has witnessed significant growth of 132 percent in export of (non-Basmati) rice. Export of non-Basmati rice has gone up from Rs 13,030 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 30,277 crore in 2020-21. This increase in exports is on account of multiple factors, mainly being India capturing new markets namely, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Chile, and Puerto Rico. Exports were also made to Togo, Senegal, Malaysia, Madagascar, Iraq, Bangladesh, Mozambique, Vietnam, Tanzania Rep and Madagascar.
India also enhanced export of Soya meals by 132 percent. Soya meal has gone up from Rs 3,087 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 7,224 crore in 2020-21.
Other commodities of agricultural and allied basket witnessing significant increase in export during April, 2020 to February, 2021 as compared to corresponding period during 2019-20, have been spices (Rs 26,257 crore vs Rs 23,562 crore; growth 11.44percent), sugar (Rs 17,072 crore vs Rs 12,226 crore; growth 39.64 percent), raw cotton (Rs 11,373 crore vs Rs 6,771 crore; growth 67.96 percent), fresh vegetables (Rs 4,780 crore vs Rs 4,067 crore; growth 17.54 percent) and processed vegetables (Rs 2,846 crore vs Rs 1,994 crore; growth 42.69 percent) among many other agri commodities.
The imports of agri and allied commodities during April, 2020 – Feb, 2021 were Rs. 141,034.25 crore as compared to Rs. 137,014.39 crore in the same period last year witnessing a slight increase of 2.93 percent.
Despite COVID-19, balance of trade in agriculture has favourably increased during April, 2020 – Feb, 2021 to Rs. 132,579.69 crore as against Rs. 93,907.76 crore during the same period in 2019-20.