Saturday, November 10, 2018

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Niti against abrupt curbs on export of agri items
NEW DELHI: Niti Aayog has argued against any abrupt restrictions on agriculture exports to meet domestic demand, suggesting instead that these should be resorted to in exceptional situations and producers should know well in advance of impending restrictions.If accepted by the government, this would ensure that Indian agriculture commodities have a dedicated market overseas as the focus of government moves from farm land to foreign land to help take India’s agriculture exports to $60 billion by 2022.“Export restrictions on commodities should be resorted to in exceptional situations based on the principle trigger that the producer knows in advance,” Niti Aayog’s agriculture expert and member, Ramesh Chand, told ET.Currently India exports a large number of agriculture commodities annually.However, this is subject to stable domestic market which means if demand goes up or prices soar in the domestic market, the government immediately stops exports mid-way as a result of which India is rarely seen as a consistent supplier of agri commodities to overseas destinations.The Aayog is of the view that agriculture production in India should have dedicated focus on exports and certain amount of all produce should be dedicated to exports. “We should not be exporting residual produce but producing exclusively for exports,” Chand added.The commerce ministry issued a draft agriculture export policy in 2017 calling for stable farm exports from India. The department will soon move a cabinet note on the policy that calls for predictable farm exports regime with limited state interference, reform of the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act and streamlining of mandi fees along with liberalisation of land leasing norms including contract farming.66563563 Enumerating the list of reform that needs to be brought into agriculture exports, Chand said India should focus on export of niche and value added products like condiments, spices and horticulture products, increase investment in infrastructure and introduce agriculture reforms as immediate measure to boost exports. “India has a huge potential to export agriculture and horticulture crops. The slogan should now be ‘from farm land to foreign land’. This will ensure farmers get remunerative rates,” Chand said. The Aayog has given its go ahead to the draft agriculture policy of commerce ministry and the government is expected to make an announcement in this regard soon.India’s share in global exports of agriculture products rose from 1% a few years ago to 2.2% in 2016. It is currently ranked ninth among exporters globally.The plan is to adopt a cluster base approach for agriculture commodity exports so that quality products can be exported. "The clusters should have focused attention to produce world class products which complies with the international phytosanitary standards,” an official in the agriculture ministry said.The government will also focus on strengthening India’s existing market share of traditional items like tea, spices, cotton, rice, grapes and pomegranates while simultaneously taping new markets.“The Indian embassies would be strengthened to get market intelligence and intervene when exporters have issues in those countries," the official added.
Source: ET