Farm min seeks control of export promotion body from commerce min

Tuesday, Aug 6, 2019


By Kaushal Verma


NEW DELHI – The farm ministry wants to wrest control of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority from the commerce ministry, as it wants a more proactive role in promoting export of farm produces, a government official close to the development said.


"The commerce ministry is working towards the formation of a new export promotion council for processed food sector while farm ministry wants to take control of APEDA," the official said. The farm ministry has already sent a proposal in this regard to the commerce ministry. 


Bringing Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority under its control would enable the farm ministry to boost exports by effective  alignment of produce from farm to freight, the official said. 


The farm ministry may ensure compliance with specific standards for quality and quantity of farm commodities in global export markets by advising farmers to use only chemicals allowed in other countries while growing crops, he said. 


Increasing the export of farm produce was among the key recommendations of a committee set up to suggest ways of doubling the income of farmers.


Farm exports from India, however, have been falling since November. In the first two months of this financial year, export of farm products have fallen nearly 12% on year to $29.2 bln, according to data released by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority .


Though India is the world's second-largest producer of food grains, milk, and fruits and vegetables, farm exports accounted for only 5.6% of India's total exports of $331.02 bln in 2018-19 (Apr-Mar).


On Monday, a meeting in this regard was held by the commerce ministry with officials from several trade bodies and the farm ministry, the official said.


The state-owned farm export-import monitoring agency typically focuses on adopting adequate steps to facilitate the export of farm commodities and livestock products comprising horticulture commodities, meat, dairy, bakery products, sugar products, cereal and cereal products, groundnuts, and walnuts, guar gum, herbal and medicinal plants.


Besides monitoring outbound shipments of various sectoral goods and ensuring promotion of trade, it also deals with broad policies to develop production and export infrastructure.  


"There is a tug of war for APEDA as food processing ministry in June also expressed interest in taking its control," the official said.


The food processing ministry has held consultations with the commerce department to bring Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority and Marine Products Export Development Authority under its wing, he said.  End


Edited by Avishek Dutta


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