A robust agriculture export policy is instrumental to harness the export potential of Indian agriculture sector and to help farmers and exporters in accessing opportunities in overseas market and procuring remunerative return on investment. In order to fast-track the implementation of agri export policy using a collaborative approach , APEDA recently signed an MoU with ICFA, which aims to boost the sector through creating capacities of key stakeholders, GAP certification, traceability and logistics protocol development and tech-driven farm to fork approach. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has laid newer challenges and barriers to agro trade, which need to be analysed and proactively responded for India’s agro trade to unlock its full potential.
The economic implications of COVID-19 crisis has catapulted all the formal and informal sectors in India and agriculture is no exception. The aftermath of nationwide lockdown has severely affected agricultural related activities including rural markets which constitutes more than 700 million people comprising farmers, farm labourers, SMEs and youth. The consistent delay in agriculture supply chains for the farm produce to reach markets and complete shutdown of all the ports for agri-exports have incurred sizeable revenue loss to farmers and exporters across states. Moreover, despite government's efforts to exempt agriculture related essential services from the restrictions, there have been problems in delivery and implementation on ground level.
The delay in sowing and harvesting of crops due to non-availability of agri-inputs and farm labourer coupled with prediction of weak global consumption trend post COVID-19 have further made the matter of agri exports, a hot button issue. It has become momentous for the government to re-equip and re-invent Indian agriculture sector to keep up with the goal of doubling agricultural exports (USD 60 billion by 2022) and integrating Indian farmers and agri products to the global value chain as farmers, farm labourers and exporters set off to rehabilitate their lives and livelihood. Taking this forward, Indian Chamber of Food and Agriculture is organizing a webinar to discuss the challenges, solutions, contingency plans and future blueprints for Indian agri-exports.