Exports of 8 in 13 key agri products enter negative zone

Exports of 8 in 13 key agri products enter negative zone

Exports of several agriculture products including rice, spices and tobacco have registered negative growth in August mainly due to decline in prices in the global commodity market.

Tea, coffee, cereals, cashew and oil meals too recorded negative growth during the month.

In all, 8 out of 13 main agriculture products that are closely monitored by the Commerce Ministry, were in the negative zone.

"Prices of agri-produce in the global market is generally depressed due to over supply. But, on the other hand, prices here are much above the global prices making domestic market a better option than exports," said Ajay Sahai, DG & CEO of Federation of Indian Export Organisations.

"These twin factors are primarily responsible for decline in exports of many agri commodities," he added.

During the month, exports of rice, spices and tobacco declined by 3.15 per cent to USD 600 million, 2.18 per cent to USD 227 million and 14.7 per cent to USD 73 million respectively, according to the data of the Commerce Ministry.

Other products which have reported negative growth include tea (6.72 per cent), coffee (10.5 per cent), cereals (50.6 per cent), cashew (1.82 per cent) and oil meals (64.3 per cent).

Decline in these exports is a key factor for slow growth in India's overall merchandise exports. Growth rate of India's exports slipped to 5-month low of 2.35 per cent in August at USD 26.95 billion, pushing up the trade deficit to USD 10.83 billion. Agri-products account for over 10 per cent of the country's total exports.

As per estimates, outbound shipments of agri-produce in 2010-11 amounted USD 17.35 billion; USD 27.43 billion in 2011-12; USD 31.86 billion in 2012-13 and about USD 45 billion in 2013-14.

In order to boost agri-exports, the Commerce Ministry is asking exporters to explore new markets and ship value-added products.

Sectors which grew at a healthy rate in August include oil seeds (37.2 per cent), fruits and vegetables (3.46 per cent), processed items (6.71 per cent), marine products (35.5 per cent) and meat, dairy and poultry items (37.2 per cent).

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