Transition towards a Stable Trade Policy Regime is a gamechanger for Agri Exports from India: India Exim Bank Study

Agriculture policies in India have been focusing on raising farm output to achieve self-sufficiency, reduce import dependency and ensure food security. Driven by these primary objectives, there has been a tendency to utilize trade policy as an instrument to attain short term goals of price stabilization in India. According to a recent Study by India Exim Bank, recently there has been a shift in the Government of India’s stance from the one characterized by intermittent restrictions to the one committed towards maintaining a stable trade policy regime to help India emerge as a reliable supplier.

India Exim Bank’s study titled “Promoting Agriculture Exports from India” was released during a webinar titled “Agriculture Exports from India: Prospects and Opportunities” on November 12, 2021, hosted by India Exim Bank as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav initiative to commemorate 75 years of Independence. The webinar had speakers from India Exim Bank, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), experts from academia and representatives from agri-businesses. The webinar was attended by more than 150 participants.

India Exim Bank’s study notes that India was the 14th largest exporter of agriculture and allied products in the world in 2019, with exports valued at US$ 34.8 billion. Exportable surplus from the agriculture sector in India has increased gradually, leading to a positive and increasing trade balance in agricultural trade. However, despite having a large area under cultivation and being the largest producer country in many agricultural commodities, India’s share in global exports of several agricultural commodities is low. For example, while India ranks 2nd in the global wheat production, it ranks 34th in global exports of wheat. India also ranks 2nd in the global vegetables production but ranks 14th in exports of these products. Similarly, in Fruits, India ranks 3rd in global production, but 22nd in the global exports. Geographically smaller countries like Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands have much higher agricultural exports than India.

India Exim Bank study benchmarks the agricultural policies in India with those in other developed and developing market, identifies the best practices and makes recommendations for strengthening the landscape for agricultural exports from the country. The strategies, inter alia include quality upgradation as per the export market requirements, revamping of cold storage and reefer infrastructure through adoption of high-end technologies, ensuring WTO compatibility of schemes, adoption of PPP model in the agriculture sector, building brand India, strengthening institutional farm credit delivery, convergence of different Government Schemes, among others. The Study also underscored the need for a unified body to deal with market access issues for trade in agricultural products. 

In her address during the webinar, Ms. Harsha Bangari, Managing Director, India Exim Bank highlighted the support of India Exim Bank to the technopreneurs in the agriculture sector, and underscored the importance of technological interventions in propelling exports from the sector. Mr. N. Ramesh, Deputy Managing Director, India Exim Bank highlighted how India’s agricultural sector is shedding its image of a low growth sector to emerge as the silver lining for the economy. During the panel discussion moderated by Mr. N. Ramesh, panellists deliberated upon the issues faced by agricultural exports, and the strategies for enhancing India’s agricultural trade for achieving the agricultural export target of US$ 100 billion. During the plenary session, Dr. C. Vanlalramsanga, Economic Adviser, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry highlighted the robust growth of agricultural exports from India during the recent period, and the initiatives taken by Government of India to help the sector.  Dr. Devesh Roy, Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute discussed the significant untapped potential in exports from the sector, highlighted the agricultural policies in other countries, and recommended strategies for enhancing India’s exports from the sector. Dr. Tarun Bajaj, Director, APEDA informed participants about the role of APEDA in ensuring that agricultural exports remained resilient even during the pandemic and encouraged more agri businesses to tap the international market. The webinar also had speakers from agri business who highlighted some of the key aspects for improving competitiveness of agricultural products in the international market, including the need for strengthening agri value chain integration and building brand value.

For further details please contact: Mr. S Prahalathan, Chief General Manager, Export-Import Bank of India, Centre One Building, Floor 21, World Trade Centre Complex, Cuffe Parade, Mumbai 400 005. Telephone: +91-22- 2286 0333; E-mail: