Basmati rice, guargum drive Indias April to June agri exports

 India’s agri exports for the April-June quarter rose by almost a tenth in dollar terms and 7 per cent in rupee terms on strong overseas demand for products such as basmati rice and guargum.

Exports in dollar terms stood at $4.39 billion, up from $4 billion in the corresponding period last year. In rupee terms, the exports stood at ₹28,230 crore, against ₹26,525 crore in the previous year period, according to provisional estimates by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda).
The shipments of buffalo meat, which had slowed down in the immediate aftermath of a ban on trade of cattle for slaughter, have registered a 3 per cent growth in dollar terms at $849 million for the April-June period, although the export volumes were flat at around 2.79 lakh tonnes.
Basmati rice, the largest product in the agri-exports basket, saw increased buying from Iran during the period. Basmati volumes for the April-June quarter stood at 1.25 million tonnes, a growth of 6 per cent over last year’s 1.18 million tonnes.
The renewed demand for Indian guargum saw the export volumes almost double during the period.
Shipments of guargum, used by the US shale gas industry in extracting the gas, stood at 1.45 lakh tonnes in April-June this year, against 77,174 tonnes in the corresponding period last year.
Besides increased buying from Iran, the higher per unit realisation fetched by basmati shipments also contributed to the overall export growth in value terms, said DK Singh, Chairman of Apeda. As against per tonne realisation of around $850 last year, basmati rice has commanded an average price of $1009 per tonne in the April-June quarter this year.
Higher realisations for non-basmati rice has also pushed up the growth in exports of the cereal as volumes saw a marginal dip at 1.72 million tonnes (against 1.78 million tonnes).
Also, the issue relating to ban on trade of cattle has not impacted exports. Singh said Apeda is focussing on new markets in South-East Asia, such as Malaysia and the Philippines, to boost buffalo meat exports.
“We are expecting a delegation from these two countries this month to visit India for approving the abattoirs. Once we get the approval, we should be able to export more,” Singh said. Presently, Vietnam is the largest buyer of India’s buffalo meat.
Further, Singh said Apeda is focussing on boosting fruit and vegetable shipments, where the state-run entity sees big potential. Fresh fruit exports went up marginally to ₹1,349 crore this year (against ₹1,332 crore).
India’s total agri and processed food exports stood at ₹1.088 lakh crore in 2016-17.

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