Union cabinet approves agricultural export policy
In its first ever policy for agricultural exports, the cabinet also decided to give high value, value added and perishable products a special reference.
The ‘Agriculture Export Policy, 2018’ seeks to double farm exports to $60 billion by 2022 from $30 billion last year, and will invest .`1,400 crore to set up specialised clusters in different states for different produce to push exports.
Policy for sensitive farm goods such as onions will be reviewed from time to time.
“The policy will promote organic, ethnic and indigenous products,” commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu said while briefing the media about the cabinet decisions. The policy seeks to diversify exports by products and destination and will focus on high value-added farm produce and perishables. At present, rice, wheat and marine products account for about 52% of the total farm exports.
Dedicated clusters could be set up for mangoes, pomegranate, bananas, grapes, tea, coffee, turmeric, and marine products, among others. Prabhu said the government will set up ‘Brand India’ to promote exports and establish as strong quality regime for exports, and states will be extensively involved.
The policy that has strategic and operational elements will also seek to attract private investment into production and processing.
It will “harness export potential of Indian agriculture through suitable policy instruments to make India global power in agriculture and raise farmers’ income”, the government said in a statement.
Considering the sanitary and phyto-sanitary issues that farm exports usually run into with many countries, the policy will provide an institutional mechanism to pursue market access and tackle barriers.
Prabhu said the policy has been designed with extensive consultations with states that have agreed to remove a lot of restrictions, including mandi taxes, and APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee)-related conditions.
SHAHPURKANDI DAM The Cabinet also approved Shahpurkandi Dam project in Punjab on river Ravi. The Centre would provide .`485.38 crore for irrigation component over five years from 2018-19 to 2022-23.