The Government of Maharashtra launched the state’s Agriculture Export Policy (AEP) which will focus on export promotion of 21 agricultural commodities.
The Government of India had unveiled its Agriculture Export Policy in December 2018, directing the state governments to draft their own policy.
Accordingly, the state government had constituted a committee in May 2019 to draft the policy.
Some of the activities envisaged under the AEP include, infrastructure creation, export of organic products, export of products registered under Geographical Indication, developing sea protocol and trial consignments, hiring international consultants for post-harvest management, declaration of pest-free area for certain products and implementation of an effective traceability system.
Addressing stakeholders of the agriculture export chain, Anoop Kumar, chief secretary (Co-operation and Marketing), Maharashtra, said “We have to focus on exports as it can help increase the net income of farmers by about 40% to 45%”.
The domestic market has limited capacity to give remunerative returns to farmers, he added.
Kumar said that the major complaint of the foreign buyers of produce from the state is about the sudden changes in export policy, which reduces trust worthiness of Indian exporters.
The central government should not disturb the export chain as it takes many years to get back the customers. We have lost trust in the international market, which also affects the farmers, Kumar further added.
Suraj Mandhare, district collector of Nashik, a major cluster of onion exports, pointed out the inconsistency in India’s onion export policy during the past decade.
During December 2010 to December 2020, India imposed minimum export price (ME), the mandatory floor price legally binding on exporters, 34 times. During the same period, export was banned 4 times, said Mandhare.
The 21 commodity specific clusters identified by the Maharashtra government for export promotion include, banana, pomegranate, Alphonso Mango, Kesar Mango, orange, grapes, sweet lime, onion, cashew, floriculture, raisin, vegetables, non-Basmati rice, pulses and cereals, oilseeds, jaggery, spices (red chilli and turmeric), dairy products, fisheries and animal products