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India’s fruits exports jump up by 40% thanks to entry of large corporates

Feb 20, 2017

Triggered by a sharp increase in production led by grapes, India’s exports of fresh fruits jumped by a staggering 40 per cent in the first nine months of the current financial year on account of a sharp decline in this seasonal fruit in competing countries.

Data compiled by Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority showed India’s fresh fruits exports jumped to 487,441 tonnes ($403 million) for the period between April and December 2016 as compared to 348,675 tonnes ($335 million) in the corresponding quarter last year.
 
The sharp increase in India’s fresh fruits exports can be largely attributed to the entry of large corporates that have provided special attention on the entire eco-system of fruits, including seeding, field preparations, planting, re-planting, time of harvesting, post harvest management and marketing. Apart from that, most corporates have adopted due care on farm advisory for ensured income for farmers at different levels of crop care. With deep pockets, the entry of large corporates in fruits management has helped India to stand in line with the developed world with the best quality of produce.
 
“As far as the continuity of white seedless grapes is concerned, India has emerged as the most reliable source as well as a business partner for the European Union. Over the years, Indian growers have relentlessly worked on improving the hygiene factors, food safety and quality of the grapes. Because of the reliable service, our country’s export volumes have been growing year on year. Mahindra Agri Solutions Ltd has been at the forefront because of our ability to deliver high volumes with their required specifications consistently. The markets look favourable this year as well; area registered for exports has gone up. We have also seen an increase in the number of farmers approaching us for farm advisory in cultivating exportable grapes. Our estimate is that the containers exported from India to Europe would go up by 5-10 per cent compared to last year,” said Ashok Sharma, chief executive officer, Mahindra Agri Solutions Ltd, an agri arm of India’s auto major Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.
Meanwhile, the first advanced estimates of the Ministry of Agriculture forecast India’s grape output to set a new record of 2.64 million tonnes for 2016-17, compared to 2.59 million tonnes last year, on an increased acreage to 123,000 ha this year from 122,000 ha the previous year. Grapes’ exports season starts in January and continues till April-end.
 
“We expect this season to remain very good this year on a bumper production. But, the climate is still crucial for the growth of sucrose (sweetness) in grapes. With increasing day temperature, the sucrose content is expected to grow fast which would ultimately help ramp up exports,” said Subhash Arve, president, Maharahtra Grapes Growers Association.
 
Apart from grapes, India exports mango to a number of European, American and the West Asia countries. Export of grapes from India are estimated to have jumped by 15-20 per cent so far this season following crop damage in competing countries, including Chile and South Africa. Interestingly, India has also started shipping fruits to China, the market which opened for Indian exporters last year.
 
Indias fruits exports jump up by 40% thanks to entry of large corporates
    
Source: Asian News



‘Modest growth is expected in Indian exports’

Feb 20, 2017

Trade deficit in January  stayed  stable  at  USD10 billion,  the same as in the previous  month,  with  oil  deficit  deteriorating  but  non-oil  balance improving. Barring engineering goods, which are showing good traction, helped by a favourable base, several other categories, such as leather goods, garments, gems and jewellery moderated during the month. 
 
These are the primary observations of a research note from Edelweiss. Meanwhile, non-oil/non-gold imports maintained pace at 6% year-on-year. Going ahead, Edelweiss expects trade balance to hover around current levels. Recovery in the global economy is a boost to exports, but base effect is turning adverse. Thus, stable to modest improvement is the most likely scenario for exports.    
 
A similar trend was observed in imports. Overall, imports growth improved to 7% in January 2017, compared to 6% in December 2016. Non-oil and non-gold imports showed a similar pattern. Just as with exports, base effect and rebound in global commodity prices seems to be at play. Specifically in January, gold imports were flat at USD2 billion, while crude oil imports jumped, reflecting rising prices.
Edelweiss observe that it is worth noting that while global industrial activity has picked up, one is yet to see visible pick up in global trade volumes. If one looks at global trade, it has recovered in nominal terms in the past 3-4 months, but world trade volumes have barely improved.  
  
 
    
Source: money Life



Easy availability of funds to farmers needs to be considered, explored

Feb 20, 2017

There are various issues which need to be explored and taken into consideration like easy availability of funds to farmers, proper utilisation of the budget allocated by the government for both private and co-operative dairy players and dairy-based functional foods.
 
This was stated by Satish Kulkarni, professor and senior scientist, ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), Karnal, at a session focusing on the issues faced by, the opportunities for and the challenges that needed to be tackled by the dairy industry, on the concluding day of the India International Dairy Expo (IIDE), organised by the India Dairy Association (IDA) - West Zone.
 
The three-day event, organised by Koelnmesse YA Tradefair Pvt Ltd, took place along side the 45th Dairy Industry Conference at Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre. It focused on the complete requirements of the dairy industry, including dairy farming, veterinary, processing, packaging, quality and dairy products.
 
Two hundred exhibitors showcased their offerings at the event, which witnessed a footfall of about 10,000 visitors.
 
During theconference, there were various technical sessions covering all aspects of dairy, from processing,innovation,supplychain and postal to industrial presentation, said Kulkarni. 
 
He added, Natural calamitiesare one of the most important issues to handle. Along with human loss, there is also cattle and livestock loss. The animals suffer and starve for feed and fodder. Fun food, value-added milk products, additive-based functional foods and milk with special nutritional properties need to be explored more.
 
On the third day of the event, whose theme for this year was climate change and dairying, there were presentations on enhancing animal productivity, climate change - human diet and animal feeding, quality aspects of milk and milk products and reducing carbon footprints. They were followed by a plenary session.
 
Global warming has been affecting land and directing impacting the productive and reproductive cycles of milch animals. By 2020, a reduction of three million tonnes per annum is likely to be witnessed due to global warming.
 
Goma Engineering Pvt Ltd was one of the exhibitors. Amol Maind, its senior manager, marketing,said, The event which happens once a yearis a good gathering for existing players as well as new entrants in this segment.
 
It is a good platform to share new technology,machinery and various new issues under one roof, he added. 
 
“This year we have launched cheese stretching and cheese moulding machines and have got a good response from the visitors,” Maind stated.
 
Kanta Yadav, who has been visiting the expo for the last five years and is pursuing her Ph D, said, “The event focuses on every aspect of the dairy segment and is for all, including industry experts, farmers,students, scientists and even those who wish to enter the segment.”
 
It has helped and encouraged the students to present their view at the industry level through this event, she added. 
 
The 46th Dairy Industry Conference will be held in Kochi, Kerala inNovember 2018. The event concluded with IDA’s AGBM.
    
Source: FNB News



SME-dominated biscuit industry seeks lowest GST slabs

Feb 20, 2017

Federation of Biscuit Manufacturers of India (FBMI) has urged the GST Council to keep biscuits in its lowest slab since biscuits are an item of mass consumption and higher taxation on it would adversely hit biscuit production as well as its consumption and hence employment in the industry.
 
Multiple rates within a sector will lead to classification disputes and complex record-keeping and compliance system. There is a predominance of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) at the retail level and they will be ill-equipped to handle multiple rates. Thus, in the interest of simplicity, all food items including biscuits should be taxed at a uniform, low rate, said FBMI. 
 
Higher rate of tax would impact demand in the entire value chain. It will cut down on procurement of raw materials by biscuit manufacturers that would adversely impact farmers across India. Lower demand will also negatively impact investments, exports and employment in the food industry.
 
Lower and uniform GST rate on Biscuits will also help India to be in line with international best practices, wherein countries such as New Zealand, Singapore, Denmark and Japan, have a single lower VAT rate for all goods including biscuits, though Biscuits are treated as non-taxable basic grocery in countries such as Canada and UK.
 
FBMI which is an affiliate association of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry is of the view that lower GST rates on biscuits will enable their availability and access within the reach of aam aadmi and that too at affordable prices.
 
In a representation sent on to GST Council by FBMI, it has been emphasized biscuits be taxed within the lowest slab of GST for Foods.
 
It has been pointed out that almost 93 percent of the food basket comprises basic food. The government proposes to tax basic food at a lower rate under GST. Taxing the remaining 7 percent food items at higher rates under GST will lead to increase in complexity, without substantial addition to the revenues. It will also not meet the goals of efficiency and equity.
 
Tax rates should apply uniformly across the entire supply chain, from one end, to another so as to encourage value added activities in the farm produce and food sector. GST provides the right opportunity to correct the current anomalies. 
 
Under GST, there should be no discrimination while taxing food products on the basis of their being branded or un-branded, or premium or non-premium products, as this will encourage value addition across the chain from farm to plate, added FBMI.
    
Source: SME Time



Onion farmers get another train to transport bumper crop

Feb 20, 2017

Railways have stepped in to quickly transport the bumper harvest of the famed red Nashik onions by operating an additional freight train from today.
 
The new rake will further enhance the carrying capacity of onions by 30 per cent and will be in addition to the existing three freight trains operated by Central Railways to carry the bulbs from Nashik.
 
Onion farmers of Nashik, which produces almost 30 per cent of the total onions produced in the country, have been staring at a loss as they have failed to recover cost of farming due to falling prices of the kitchen staple.
 
A railway official said the orders to operate the rake came from Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, in view of the huge production of the bulb this year.
 
Railway is providing four rakes for onion farmers to dispatch onion to the hinterland (three for Central Railway destinations and one for South Central Railway destination).
 
According to the directives of the Minister for Railways, one more rake will be made available from February 20 for onion farmers to send their produce to the markets,” the senior officer Narendra Patil told PTI.
 
Onion farmers have yielded a bumper crop, which is almost double that in the previous year.
 
Railways are already providing 50 per cent extra goods trains than last year. (The new rake) will further enhance the carrying capacity of onion by 30 per cent,” he said, adding the onions will be transported to the northern, eastern, north-eastern and eastern coastal parts of country, which will maximise the markets for farmers.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



European Union asks India to extend by 6 months trade pact with EU nations

Feb 20, 2017

The European Union today pressed India to extend by six months its bilateral investment pacts with several EU-member countries which are expiring soon, saying absence of the treaties could adversely impact trade ties and FTA talks. 
 
A high-level European Parliament delegation, here to gauge India's views about the Trump administration and discuss various key issues concerning India-EU ties, also expressed concern over situation in Jammu and Kashmir and called for improvement in ties between India and Pakistan. 
 
Chair of the EU delegation for relations with India Geoffrey Van Orden said EU wants New Delhi to renew the investment deals first to take forward the stalled FTA talks. 
 
It will be helpful if trade and investment pacts can be extended for six months. The issue has become a problem for the FTA talks, he told reporters. 
 
India's existing trade and investment pacts with The Netherlands have come to an end in November while while similar pacts with several other EU countries will expire in the coming months. 
 
Orden said expiry of the pacts will make it difficult for the European countries to go for fresh investments in India, adding the EU want India to first give the extension to the pacts and then move ahead with the FTA which is known as EU-India Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA). 
 
On Kashmir, he said EU is always sensitive about issues relating to human rights violations, adding certain forces do not want India-Pakistan relations to improve. 
 
He said there ware serious problem of Pakistan containing terrorists and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had showed his resolve to improve ties with Islamabad. 
 
The BTIA talks have been stalled since May, 2013, when both sides failed to bridge substantial gaps on crucial issues, including data security status for IT sector. 
 
Launched in June 2007, negotiations for the proposed agreement have witnessed many hurdles as both the sides have major differences on crucial issues. 
 
In the EU-India Summit in Brussels, the two sides had failed to make any announcement on resumption of the negotiations as many bottlenecks still remain. 
 
The two sides are yet to iron out issues related to tariff and movement of professionals but the EU has shown an inclination to restart talks. 
 
Besides demanding significant duty cuts in automobiles, the EU wants tax reduction in wines, spirits and dairy products, and a strong intellectual property regime. 
 
On the other hand, India is asking for granting 'data secure nation' status to it by the EU. The country is among nations not considered data secure by the EU. 
 
The matter is crucial as it will have a bearing on Indian IT companies wanting market access. 
 

 

    
Source: The Economic Times



Food processing can generate 9 mn jobs by 2024: Study

Feb 20, 2017

The Indian food processing sector has the potential to attract USD 33 billion of investment and generate nine million person-days of employment by 2024, industry chamber Assocham said on Sunday, citing its study.
 
By 2024, food processing sector is expected to employ nine million people in India and expected to generate about 8,000 direct and 80,000 indirect jobs in the state, the Assocham-Grant Thornton joint study on 'Food Retail: Investment: Infrastructure' noted.
 
According to the study, the Indian food processing industry, whose estimated worth is between USD 121 billion to USD 130 billion, is the largest producer of milk, pulses, sugarcane and tea globally and the second largest producer of wheat, rice, fruits and vegetables.
 
Despite the massive production, the degree of processing is low and ranges between 2 to 35 percent for different products, said the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India.
 
India is one of the top rankers in the production of bananas, guavas, ginger, papaya etc., although processing levels in the country remain limited. This indicates an extensive opportunity in the food processing sector, it added.
 
According to the study, the share of food processing exports in India's total shipments was around 12 percent in the last few years, while during the fiscals 2011-15, Indian exports of processed food related products have been growing at a compund annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.3 percent.
 
With globalisation and increasing trade resulting in about 460 million tonnes of food worth USD 3 billion being traded annually, the Indian food and retail market is projected to touch USD 482 billion by 2020, from the level of USD 258 billion in 2015, Assocham said.
 
In contrast to consumers in other countries who spend a much lower proportion of their income on food and grocery, these constitute a substantial part of India's consumption basket accounting for around 31 percent share in the total, it added.
 
Food and grocery is the largest segment in India's retail sector, with a share of more than 60 percent in India's total retail market in 2014, the statement said.
 
India is the world's second largest producer of food after China. The arable land area of 159.7 million hectares (394.6 mn acres) is the second largest in the world after the US. India has a strong raw material base for the food processing industry, it added.
 
Assocham also noted that with the demand for processed food in the country rising due to factors like growing disposable income, urbanisation, young population, nuclear families and changing lifestyle, household consumption set to double by 2020.
 
    
Source: SME Time



NITI Aayog finalising model law on contract farming

Feb 20, 2017

In a move intended to protect farmers against price volatility, particularly in perishables like onions, tomatoes and potatoes, the Niti Aayog is drawing up a model law on contract farming for approval by the Cabinet by June. 
 
As market fluctuations have made distress sales -- with dramatic photographs of farmers dumping kitchen staples on roads -- a regular feature, the centre's think-tank is considering options that can reduce the risks for farmers by balancing entry of private players with safeguards for agriculturalists. 
 
We have been working on the model law for quite some time. Meetings with states’ representatives were held last year. We will hold further consultations on the final draft after the assembly elections, said Ramesh Chand, agriculture expert and member of NITI Aayog. 
 
He told TOI though the NITI Aayog had already come out with an initial draft in October, further discussions and consultations were required to tighten certain provisions which would arm farmers with legal safeguards. 
 
Bringing a model law on contract farming was announced as part of reform measures in the Union Budget. 
 
A law on contract farming is considered important for entry of private players into the sector as it would induce competition and ensure assured and better price of agriculture and horticulture produce to farmers through advance agreements. Such contracts could offered assured price. 
 
Once states come on board and adopt the proposed law, farmers can enter into agreements with private entities\buyers who may, in turn, invest in technology and bring in management skills to increase productivity and reduce transaction costs. 
 
At present, farmers can suffer losses when a bumper crop causes a glut in the market or in a situation where their produce is unable to reach the ‘mandis’ in time for a variety of reasons. Therefore, the main idea behind contract farming is to integrate farmers to agro-processing units for better price realisation. It will also take care of their post-harvest losses, if any. 
 
A model Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act was first circulated to states during 2003 for contract farming agreement. Though 20 states had amended the legislation, only 12 have so far notified rules for implementation. 
 
The new model act will be an improved version, keeping in mind utmost safeguards to small and marginal farmers as they would also be in a position to enter into an agreement with big private players as a group or cooperative,” Chand said while hinting that the model law may largely be like the Punjab Contract Farming Act. 
 
Though Punjab had enacted a separate law on contract farming in 2013, it has so far not implemented it. On the other hand, states like Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have done this through amendments to the existing law for certain crops. 
 
Under the Punjab Contract Farming Act, a registered buyer can enter into an advance agreement with farmers for a minimum of one crop season or a maximum of three years. It also provides for recovery of crop losses or damages as per prior agreement. It has a provision where district level authority is responsible for dispute resolution. Many such provisions are expected to be there in the model law on contract farming, covering all crops. 
 
Besides bringing a law on contract farming, the states will also be urged to de-notify perishable items like fruits and vegetables from the APMC Act so that farmers will get an opportunity to sell their produce in open market and get better prices. At present, they have to sell their produce at a designated ‘mandi’ where they have to compromise on the price due to involvement of commission agents. 
 
If implemented properly by the states, both these reform measures will go a long way in doubling the farmers’ income by 2022, said Chand. 
 

 

    
Source: The Economic Times



Huge scope for India to increase produce supply into Europe

Feb 20, 2017

As the world’s second largest fresh fruit and vegetable producer, India has big ambitions increase supply into the European market. 

That is the assertion of deputy general manager of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), R. Ravindra, who spoke with Fresh Fruit Portal during last week’s Fruit Logistica in Berlin.
 
As a statutory body established by the Indian Government in the early 1990s, APEDA’s aim has always been to promote exports of agricultural products from India, a large chunk of which is fresh fruit and vegetables.
 
This has never been more true as the country has turned the corner in terms of expanding and improving its overall agricultural infrastructure to support the wealth of fresh produce – mango, pomegranates, grapes, citrus, bananas, mangosteen, guava, papaya, onions, okra, gourd, mushrooms, chillies, potatoes, ginger and much more – grown across the country’s vast states.
 
Looking closely at the latest data, Ravindra explains how little India is exporting right now compared against how much it is growing and the potential there is for the future.
 
Fresh produce constitutes a major share of Indian exports and in terms of exports to the European market as of now, the total basket of fresh fruit and vegetable export is around 15%; imagine the scope there, he says.
 
“We also analyse import data from the EU and it shows around 0.29% from India – a tiny fragment.”
 
He emphasises the excellent improvements in the country’s infrastructure and growing practises that are leading to higher yields, better farm management as well as cold storage facilities, logistics and exports standards that match any other developed exporting country in the world.
 
According to the National Horticulture Board, during 2014-15 India produced 86.602 million metric tons (MT) of fruits and 169,478 million MT of vegetables with last year’s statistics expected to be even higher.
 
The area under cultivation of fruits stood at 6.1 million hectares while vegetables were cultivated at 9.5 million hectares.
 
We would like to achieve, by at least the end of 2019, a much higher market share in the EU, especially in the UK. The EU imports just US$184.23 million from India which constitutes only about 0.29%. I’d like this to increase to at least 3% over the next couple of years.
 
We already have a huge strength with our Indian mangoes which are known the world over and grapes which also have a very good reputation in Europe and are exported to EU markets in large quantities.
 
Apart from that, we also have pomegranates which are grown across large areas in India and then papaya and some bananas, particularly our baby banana variety which has a higher nutrition value and a longer keeping quality.
 
The Netherlands represents around US$98.3 million (£787.9 million) worth of imports, while the UK is the second largest with US$73.12 (£58.5 million) and Germany is approximately US$14 million (£11.2 million).
 
Meeting stringent EU standards
 
Ravindra knows only too well the challenges involved with meeting high standards of the UK and EU markets. Growing export-ready produce remains the single biggest challenge for the Indian agricultural at large which has historically been held back by limitations in logistics and post-harvesting practises. But this is no longer the case, explains Ravindra.
 
No one wants to see produce being banned or prohibited in any way in the EU so now we are thinking about the positives and not focusing on why historically the numbers have been so low for fresh fruit and vegetables going into Europe – we think of this as a new era.
 
How are we to achieve this? We have already identified the areas where we can cultivate export-quality products which includes around 32 clusters in India spread over 15 Federal state governments which we working closely with.
 
In these identified clusters we would like to see that an end-to-end approach is followed so that we have the quality raw material for export. That’s the first thing that we are doing and it’s crucial.
 
Secondly, Ravindra explains, is continual improvements to post-harvesting. He says, there are now approximately 79 post-harvest facilities including cold store rooms and perishable cargo centres established in all of the exit points (airports and seaports) and in all of the major growing regions including Nashik, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra.
 
We also support the agricultural entrepreneurs to set up the pre-cooling, processing and handling operations and APEDA is handling the market promotion much more aggressively such as participating at trade events.
 
The challenge for us is to continue to strengthen the infrastructure and improve the backwards linkage. In short, India has so much product that is grown, but we need to get the volume of exportable quality up so we can meet the high standards of the EU.
 
This cluster approach where we have identified the growing areas, working closely with the Federal Government, growers and exporters will ensure that we have good exportable produce available.
 
Finally Ravindra explains how India is now mapping the whole value chain; from the seed, to agronomic practises including the harvesting methodology and how post-harvest handling has to be done correctly in order to enter the value chain.
 
We need to look at every step and intervene if necessary in terms of higher capacity building, training farmers and so on in order to fulfil India’s potential.
 
We are considered to have the best mango in the world, wonderful grapes, excellent bananas and a whole host of delicious fruit and vegetables, that is not in question.
 
The areas where we have fallen down are in post-harvesting and logistics which is why we will continue to focus on these aspects, hit our targets and improve the market share in the UK and Europe.
    
Source: Fresh Fruit Portal



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