Union Budget 2018: Govt to boost Agro-product exports

RSTV Bureau

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The government has set the target in the sphere of agriculture commodities sector, taking steps to boost the exports. Presenting the Budget in Lok Sabha, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said thet the sector has potential of reaching USD 100 billion. The country’s agricultural exports are around USD 30 billion at present.

“India’s agri exports potential is as high as USD 100 billion against a current export of USD 30 billion. To realise this potential, export of agri commodities will be liberalised,” Jaitley said.

He also proposed to set up state-of-the-art facility in 42 mega food parks. India is one of biggest producers and exporters of agri commodities.

The announcement assumes significance as the commerce ministry is working on a comprehensive policy covering issues such as logistics to promote export of agri commodities like tea, coffee, fruits and vegetables.

Agri-products account for over 10 per cent of the country’s total exports. India mainly exports tea, coffee, rice, cereals, tobacco, spices, cashew, oil meals, fruits and vegetables and marine products.

In December 2017, out of 13 agri commodities being tracked by the commerce ministry, five categories – other cereals, cashew, oil meals, oil seeds, fruits and vegetables – reported negative export growth.

Meanwhile, talking on the overall export scenario, the Finance Minister told that the country’s exports are likely to expand by about 15 per cent during the current fiscal.

“Our exports are expected to grow at about 15 per cent in 2017-18,” he said while presenting Union Budget 2018-19 here.

The country’s merchandise shipments rose 12.36 per cent to USD 27.03 billion in December 2017. Cumulatively, exports during April-December 2017-18 grew by 12.05 per cent to USD 223.512 billion.

Total exports value was recorded at USD 274.64 billion in 2016-17, up from USD 262.29 billion in the preceding year.

Currently, the government provides export incentives through two schemes merchandise and services export from India scheme.

In December last year, the government announced incentives worth Rs 8,450 crore to boost exports of goods and services, mainly from labour-intensive sectors.

(With inputs from PTI)