India's cereals exports surged amid pandemic: Govt

IANS File Photo
IANS File Photo

NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 10 (IANS): The Centre on Wednesday said that India's exports of cereals witnessed an impressive rise during the first three quarters of the 2020-21 financial year.

As per the Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry's data, the exports of rice, wheat and coarse cereals rose to Rs 49,832 crore in the past three quarters from Rs 32,591 crore ($4581 million) as reported during the same period last year.

The export of non-basmati rice jumped over 100 per cent while the shipment of the basmati rice witnessed a little rise during the early nine months of the current fiscal year as compared to the corresponding period a year ago.

The exports of cereals witnessed a rise of 52.90 per cent in terms of rupee and 45.81 per cent in US dollar. The total share value of cereal exports was 48.61 per cent in rupee terms in the total export of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Exports Development Authority (APEDA) scheduled products.

During the first three quarters of 2020-21, the export of non-basmati rice was Rs 22,856 crore (3068 US$ million) during April-December, 2020 against Rs 10,268 crore ($1448 million) reported during April-December, 2019.

The exports of non-basmati rice sharing 22.32 per cent in the total export of APEDA products, witnessed a growth of 122.61 per cent in rupee term and 111.81 per cent in dollar terms.

India exports non-basmati rice to countries including Nepal, Benin, United Arab Emirates, Somalia, Guinea and many others in Asia, Europe and also the United States.

However, the export of basmati rice was Rs 2,038 crore ($2947 million) against Rs 20,926 crore ($2936 million) reported during same period last year. The exports of this aromatic and long-grain rice witnessed a growth of 5.31 per cent in rupee term and 0.36 per cent in dollar terms, revealed the Commerce Ministry data.

The share of the exports of basmati rice was 21.44 per cent in the total export of products under the APEDA basket. Major destinations for the basmati rice exports s are Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and European countries.

During the April-December 2020 period, the export of wheat rose to Rs 1,870 crore ($252 million) against Rs 336 crore ($48 million) reported during the same phase a year ago.

As per the trend, there is a growth of 456.41 per cent in rupee terms and 431.10 per cent in dollar terms. The share of wheat exports is 1.84 per cent in the total export of APEDA scheduled products.

As per the April-December 2020 data the export of other cereals - millets, maize and other coarse grains in the month of April-December 2020 was Rs 3,067 crore ($413 million) against Rs 1,061 crore ($149 million) reported last year.

The exports of millets rose 189.09 per cent in rupee terms and 177.02 per cent in dollar terms in the current fiscal. The share of export of other cereals is 3.01 per cent in the total export of APEDA scheduled products. The exports destination for other cereals include United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, the United States, Germany and Japan.

The sharp spike in rice exports especially during a phase where globally the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted supply chains of many commodities, has been attributed to the government taking prompt measures to ensure exports of rice while taking all the pandemic-related safety precautions, said the ministry in a statement.

"We took several measures in terms of ensuring safety and hygiene because of the operational and health challenges posed by the pandemic, while ensuring that rice exports continue uninterrupted," Madhaiyaan Angamuthu, Chairman, APEDA said.

For boosting the rice exports, the government had set up the Rice Export Promotion Forum (REPF), under the aegis of the APEDA. The REPF has representations from the rice industry, exporters, officials from APEDA, ministry of commerce and directors of agriculture from major rice producing states including West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.