Covid time course correction zooms India’s cereals exports, wheat exports jumps five times

Contrary to expectations, India has become a food grain provider to the world during the time of the pandemic with exports of rice, wheat and coarse cereals witnessing a sharp jump during the first three quarters of 2020-21 financial year.

According to Ministry of Commerce & Industry’s data, the exports of cereals rose to Rs 49,832 crore in April-December period of FY21 from a level of Rs 32,591 crore ($ 4.58 billion) reported during the same period last year. This is a growth of 52.90 per cent in Rupee terms and 45.81 per cent in dollar terms.

The total share of value of cereal exports stood at 48.61 per cent in Rupee terms in the total export of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Exports Development Authority (APEDA) scheduled products.

Interestingly, the export of non-basmati rice jumped over 100 per cent while shipment of Basmati rice witnessed relatively smaller rise during the nine month period, the data showed.

During the period under review, the exports of non-basmati rice stood at Rs 22,856 crore ($ 3.06 billion) against Rs 10,268 crore ($ 1.45 billion) reported during April-December period of FY20. In rupee terms the growth in exports stood 122.61 per cent and in dollar terms it was 111.81 per cent.

The share of export of non-Basmati rice is 22.32 per cent in the total export of APEDA products. India exports non-Basmati rice to countries including Nepal, Benin, United Arab Emirates, Somalia, Guinea and many other countries in Asia, Europe and the United States.

In contrast to the non-basmati variety, exports of Basmati rice grew moderately (by 5.31 per cent in rupee term and 0.36 per cent in dollar terms) to Rs 22,038 crore ($2.94 billion) against Rs 20,926 crore ($ 2.93 billion) reported during April-December period of previous fiscal. The share of export of Basmati rice was 21.44 per cent in the total export of products under APEDA basket. The major destinations for Basmati rice exports from India include Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and European Countries etc.

Along with rice, the export of wheat rose by a staggering 456.41 per cent (in Rupee term) to Rs 1,870 crore ($ 252 Million) against Rs 336 crore ($ 48 Million) reported during the first nine months of previous year.

The share of export of wheat is 1.84 per cent in the total export of APEDA scheduled products. The key exports destination for wheat include Nepal, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates,

As per the April- December 2021 data, the export of other cereals – millets, maize and other coarse gains was Rs 3,067 crore ($ 413 US$ Million) against Rs 1061 crore ($149 Million) in the same period of previous year.

The exports of millets rose 189.09 per cent in rupee term and 177.02 per cent in dollar terms in the current fiscal. The share of export of other cereals is 3.01 per cent in the total export of APEDA scheduled products. The exports destination for other cereals include United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, the United States, Germany and Japan

The sharp spike in rice exports especially during a phase where globally the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted supply changes of many commodities, has been attributed to the government taking prompt measures to ensure exports of rice while taking all the Covid-19 related safety precautions, said the Ministry in a statement.

“We took several measures in terms of ensuring safety and hygiene because of the operational and health challenges posed by COVID19, while ensuring that rice exports continue uninterrupted,” Dr. Madhaiyaan Angamuthu, Chairman, APEDA said.

For boosting rice exports, the government had set up the Rice Export Promotion Forum (REPF), under the aegis of the APEDA. REPF has representations from rice industry, exporters, and officials from APEDA, ministry of commerce and directors of agriculture from major rice producing states including West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.