Avoid ban on exports, tap farm opportunity - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Avoid ban on exports, tap farm opportunity

ByHT Editorial
Apr 24, 2024 09:12 PM IST

Raising farm exports needs concerted efforts in multiple fields and there is no room for half-measures.

Raising India’s share in the exports of 20 agricultural products excluding rice and wheat to 10% from the current 2.2% underlines welcome ambition on the part of the government. With close to 46% of the country’s workforce engaged in agriculture, it has to be made more remunerative — a recurrent poll promise made by political parties across the spectrum. There is an opportunity in the projected global food demand over the next few decades. Besides, climate stress is starting to show in agricultural productivity. India must cash in on it. Outlining an export target sets the tone for this.

Agri-exports in the April-February 2023-24 period fell by just under 9% over the corresponding period in 2022-23 (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO) PREMIUM
Agri-exports in the April-February 2023-24 period fell by just under 9% over the corresponding period in 2022-23 (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)

That said, no agriculture export focus will seem meaningful if the government remains free to impose export bans/restrictions every time prices in the domestic market start to pinch. Agri-exports in the April-February 2023-24 period fell by just under 9% over the corresponding period in 2022-23, largely because of the restrictions and bans on products such as rice, wheat, sugar, and onion, with the Red Sea and Russia-Ukraine crises also playing a role. While rice and wheat are not on the list of the targeted products, onion is. However, the ban on onion exports, announced in December 2023, was extended indefinitely in March. Given food inflation has proved difficult to tame, and there is uncertainty over when it is likely to cool, chances are, the ban will stay till the elections are over. If the cost of the thali (a typical Indian meal) remains the barometer against which political intent to boost agri-exports is calibrated, an export target could mean little.

India must also improve compliance with phytosanitary standards, be it pesticide use in farms or post-harvest storage to prevent deterioration. Raising farm exports needs concerted efforts in multiple fields and there is no room for half-measures.

Unlock a world of Benefits with HT! From insightful newsletters to real-time news alerts and a personalized news feed – it's all here, just a click away! -Login Now!

Continue reading with HT Premium Subscription

Daily E Paper I Premium Articles I Brunch E Magazine I Daily Infographics
freemium
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On