About: India’s agricultural exports

About: India’s agricultural exports

  • Agricultural exports are extremely important as the exports help farmers/producers/exporters to take advantage of wider international market and increase their income.
  • Exports have also resulted in increased production in agriculture sector by increasing area coverage and productivity.
  • Giant strides have been made in agri export since independence.
  • In 1950-51, India’s agri export was about Rs. 149 crores which has risen to the level of Rs. 2.53 lakh crores in 2019-20.
  • The agricultural exports as a percentage of India’s agricultural GDP has increased from 9.4 % in 2017-18 to 9.9 % in 2018-19.
  • The agricultural imports as a percentage of India’s agricultural GDP has declined from 5.7 % in 2017-18 to 4.9 % in 2018-19.
  • The above data indicates exportable surplus and decreased dependence on import of agricultural products in India.
  • In 2019-20, India exported agricultural and allied products worth Rs 2.5 lakh crore against imports of Rs 1.5 lakh crore.

News Summary:

  • In the first 6 months of this financial year, from April to September 2020, India’s agricultural exports grew 4.6% year-on-year in dollar terms.
    • This comes even as the country’s overall merchandise exports for the same period have registered a 21.2% annual decline.
  • Exports of farm goods from India during April-September were at $18.1 billion, 4.6% higher than the $17.3 billion for the first half of 2019-20.
  • While the farm exports have grown, imports declined by 15%.
  • As a result, the overall agri-trade surplus has widened from $ 6.1 billion in April-September 2019 to $8.6 billion in April-September 2020.

Rice on top:

  • Rice is the agriculture commodity which performed the best.
  • The value of rice shipment increased by well over a third to $4.1 billion in April-September 2020.
  • The growth has come more from the non-basmati rather than basmati segment.
  • Total exports this fiscal are expected to surpass the previous record of 12.7 million tonnes (worth $7.8 billion) achieved in 2017-18.
  • Rice destinations:
  • India exports basmati rice largely to the West Asian countries (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Yemen), besides the US and UK.
  • The destinations for non-basmati rice are mainly West Africa (Benin, Nigeria, Togo, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Guinea and Senegal), East Africa (Somalia and Djibouti), UAE and Nepal.


  • Sugar is another agri-commodity that is on course to post all-time-high exports in 2020-21.
  • Indian sugar mills have already exported $1.4 billion in April-September 2020.
  • In comparision, the whole of fiscal year 2019-20 saw sugar exports worth about $2 billion.


  • Another commodity whose exports have done well this year, and the prospects also look good, is cotton.
  • In the 2019-20 season (October-September), India exported 50 lakh bales of cotton, compared to 42 lakh bales in the preceding year.
  • For 2020-21 season, the projections for cotton trade show exports hitting 70 lakh bales — the highest since 117 lakh bales in 2013-14.