A variety of products during the pandemic provide assurance of global food security during pandemic while helping Indian exporters record robust gains.
A massive 26.51 per cent jump in India’s export of processed food products during April-February (2020-21), compared to the same period during the previous year (2019-20), is a robust indication of the sector’s potential even during a raging pandemic. The rise was recorded in rupee terms, with the total value of export of processed products pegged at Rs 43.79 billion during April-February 2021 as per quick estimates, according to a government release.
The government said that major processed food products exported from India include pulses, processed vegetables, processed fruits and juices, groundnuts, guar gum, cereals preparations, milled products, alcoholic beverages, and oil meals.
Value-added products such as processed vegetables and milled products have witnessed a robust growth of more than 40 per cent in April-Feb (2020-21) compared to the same period in the previous fiscal (2019-20). The export of miscellaneous processed items including Indian snacks, sauces, starch products, vegetable flours, malt products etc and pulses grew by 36 per cent and 33 per cent respectively in the first 11 months of the current financial year (2020-21).
A similar growth in exports was recorded for cereals-based products (18 per cent), processed fruits and juices (12 per cent) and Groundnut (7 per cent). The export of oil meals rose by 96 per cent in the current fiscal (April-Feb).
The growth in processed food products not only opens up new avenues of investment for exporters and entrepreneurs in the sector, but also is the result of concerted efforts made by the Indian government over the past six years.
The government, through the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), has also taken all necessary steps to boost investments in the food processing industry – sanctioning 37 food parks funded under the Mega Food Parks Scheme, of which 21 are operational and 16 are under implementation as of January 2021.
“India has made vast progress overtime in providing food security for its people and has become largely self-reliant in agriculture. Accordingly, the policy focus has shifted from attaining self-sufficiency to generating higher and stable income for the farming population,” said the Reserve Bank of India in a policy briefing.
“The food processing industry (FPI) is one area which has the potential to add value to farm output, create alternate employment opportunities, improve exports and strengthen the domestic supply chain. India, with about 11.2 per cent of total arable land in the world, is ranked first in the production of milk, pulses and jute, second in fruits and vegetables and third in cereals (Government of India, 2019). It is also the sixth largest food and grocery market in the world,” the RBI observed.
Indeed, the overall growth of 26.51 per cent achieved in the export of processed food products of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) have been successful due to concerted efforts and initiatives taken to facilitate export from India.
According to Dr M Angamuthu, Chairman of APEDA, this trend of increasing exports of processed food products is likely to continue in the next financial year (2021-22). An increase in demand for pulses, processed fruits and vegetables, milled products, cereals preparations and other processed items is seen especially from Middle East, Far East, the USA and UK markets.
APEDA also initiated a number of measures to boost agricultural and processed food products exports – such as virtual buyer-seller meet, product promotion meeting, webinars, creation of products specific export promotion forums, ensuring market access through organizing exports promotion activities, MOUs with key stakeholders and promotion of GI products.