Farm trade deficit reversed, export of essentials up 43%

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NEW DELHI: Recording a balance of

agri trade

in India’s favour despite the Covid-19 situation, the country’s export of essential agricultural commodities for the April-September period this year has increased by 43% to Rs 53,626 crore as compared to Rs 37,397 crore in the same period last year.
The balance of trade during April-September has been significantly positive at Rs 9,002 crore as against a trade deficit of Rs 2,133 crore during the same period in 2019, preliminary data released by

the agriculture ministry

on Saturday shows. The year-on-year figure may make the data more impressive as against sequential improvememts this year.
The latest available figures, received from customs, show that major essential agri commodities which pushed exports during the first two quarters of the current financial year include wheat (206% increase), non-basmati rice (105%),

refined sugar

(104%), groundnut (35%),


(17%) and basmati rice (13%).
In value terms, basmati rice (Rs 16,105 crore) and non-basmati rice (Rs 14,676 crore) together accounted for over 57% of India’s export of essential agri commodities during April-September this year. During this period, the country also exported onions worth Rs 2,087 crore before the imposition of Centre’s export ban.
Even during the first quarter (April-June), basmati rice tops the list of exported farm items in value terms (Rs 8,591 crore). But, it was the export of non-Basmati rice that contributed the highest rise (Rs 2,392 crore) out of total increase of Rs 4,818 crore of agri export compared to 2019 Q1.
During the first quarter, which saw 68 days of lockdown, India had recorded an increase of 23% in export of essential agri commodities (foodgrains, pulses, oilseeds, refined oil, sugar, fruits and vegetables) compared to 2019 Q1.
Though the overall farm sector trade comprises export of livestock (buffalo and other meat) and marine products, the government has, so far, released data of only essential commodities for Q2.
Actual performance of the farm sector trade in April-September would be known only after getting details of meat and marine products’ export which had reported substantial decline during Q1 of the current financial year due to disruption in supply chains.
Among essential agri-products, tea and potato reported decline of 13% each in their export during April-September this year as compared to the corresponding period in 2019.

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