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Serbia, Malta, Romania express admiration for India's growth'
Sep 24, 2018
During Vice President Venkaiah Naidu's three-nation tour to Serbia, Malta and Romania, the leaders of these countries expressed admiration for India's economic growth, said an official release on Friday.
The leaders in all the countries expressed unequivocal admiration for India's economic growth and were eager to engage and partner with India politically, economically and culturally, said a release.
In Romania, there was a special interest in Space and Aerospace. Malta expressed its desire to join the International Solar Alliance, it added.
The visit gave an opportunity for the members of India Diaspora to listen to the Vice President about the transformative agenda of the government and encouraged them to think of various ways in which they can contribute to the country’s development, it said.
The vice president underscored the growing importance of India on the world stage and drew attention to four key features that need to be recognized. He called them 4Ds – Democracy, Demographic dividend, Demand and Diaspora.
The visit evoked a lot of interest among the top political leadership and there was an air of bonhomie in all the meetings, it added.
During the visit, several MOUs entered into related to plant protection, tourism, air services, oil research, diplomatic training and maritime cooperation.
EU-India fully committed to move forward on free trade pact: Official
Sep 24, 2018
The European Union and India are fully committed to moving forward on the proposed free trade agreement and discussions are on between the two sides on the much-delayed pact, according to an EU official.
The negotiations for the pact, officially dubbed as the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), have been held up since May 2013 and have witnessed many hurdles.
Discussions between European Union and India are going on. Both sides are fully committed to moving this agenda forward and discussions are on, Ambassador of the 28-nation grouping to India Tomasz Kozlowski told PTI when asked about the BTIA talks.
The negotiations for the pact were launched in 2007.
Besides demanding significant duty cuts in automobiles, the EU wants tax reduction on wines, spirits and dairy products, and a strong intellectual property regime.
On the other hand, India is asking it be granted data secure nation status by the EU. The country is among the nations not considered as data secure by the EU.
Government plans waterway freight corridor via Bangladesh to northeastern states
Sep 24, 2018
The government is working on a plan to set up a waterway freight corridor to connect the mainland with the northeastern states via Bangladesh at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore.
The move would substantially reduce the time taken to transport goods to the eight northeastern states and costs.
The proposed 900-km waterway would be used to transport freight from the northern and eastern states to the northeast and would start near Haldia in West Bengal, go to the Sundarbans, merge into the Padma river in Bangladesh and then join up with the Brahmaputra in Assam.
We are working on the details of the project. It would substantially improve connectivity between the mainland states and northeast. The cost of freight transportation would come down substantially, shipping secretary Gopal Krishna told ET.
Implementation of Free Trade Agreement can help grow intra-BIMSTEC trade: Official
Sep 24, 2018
The implementation of Free Trade Agreement can help the intra-BIMSTEC trade grow up to USD 240 billion from the current estimated USD 40 billion, said a senior official of the seven-member bloc that includes India.
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation(BIMSTEC) is a regional economic bloc comprising seven member states lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity.
The group formed in 1997 consists of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand.
That is the potential and it would be much easier to go to that potential, M Shahidul Islam, Secretary-General of BIMSTEC said, citing a think tank's report that intra-BIMSTEC trade can grow up to USD 240 billion from the current estimated USD 40 billion.
He said that India has given its opinion on the revised FTA whose draft was ready in 2015 but has been revisited on call from some member countries.
Islam said that there were plans that the agreements would be signed next year.
Once it (connectivity plan) is approved by the member states, we hope to have a formal launch, most probably, in New Delhi as India is the lead country for connectivity," said Islam, adding that the Delhi launch of the connectivity master plan will also give a visibility to the world.
NITI Aayog to make recommendations on proposed agriculture export policy
Sep 24, 2018
The NITI Aayog will take a final view on the proposed national agriculture export policy — which aims to double the country’s exports of farm products and farmers’ income by 2022 — before it is placed before the Cabinet for approval.
The NITI Aayog is working on its suggestions on the draft agriculture policy. Officials from the Commerce Ministry will hold detailed discussions with their counterparts in NITI Aayog on the policy soon and finalise it, an official told BusinessLine.
Recently, a presentation on the proposed measures was given to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) by the Commerce Department officials.
The PMO had no objections to the proposed measures. Details on certain measures were sought, which were provided, the official said.
With the general elections scheduled next year, it is important for the government to ensure that proposals related to the farming community and agriculture produce do not result in any controversy.
Building India’s image as a reliable supplier in the global market by removing export restrictions such as imposition of a minimum export price or export ban is one of the key suggestion of the policy.
The PMO was assured that the proposal to do away with export ban would not result in shortage of essential commodities such as rice or wheat as such items would be exempt, the official said.
The essential commodities that could continue to be regulated through export restrictions will be identified by the relevant stakeholders and ministries.
If the NITI Aayog has some specific suggestions in the area of export restrictions, it would be added to the draft, the official said.
Agriculture exports could double to $60 billion by 2022 from the present $30 billion once the proposed measures are implemented, the draft policy has envisaged. It would also contribute in meeting the target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 although the draft doesn’t mention how much in absolute terms that would be.
The draft policy does not propose direct incentives to farm exporters as these are banned under the World Trade Organization rules for countries with an average per capita income of more that $1,000. It has several incentives lined up that are compatible with the multilateral norms.
There are proposals to promote marketing, build export infrastructure and develop a number of export clusters, which would require funding from the Finance Ministry.
The Hindu Business line
Kharif acreage up 0.61% YoY to 1,057.81 lakh hectare
Sep 24, 2018
Planting of kharif crops this season has increased over the previous year’s figure. According to latest numbers from the agriculture ministry, kharif crop planting has covered 1,057.81 lakh hectare from June to September 20, a 0.61% increase from 1,051.36 lakh hectares a year earlier.
Rice, oilseeds and sugarcane saw the increase while pulses, coarse cereals and cotton saw the decline. The government has set a target of planting kharif crop on 1,058.10 lakh hectares this year.
Meanwhile, data from the weather department shows monsoon rainfall has been 10% below normal so far this year.
Rice planting saw a 2.36% increase over the previous year at 385.85 lakh hectare.
Higher acreage was reported from Telangana, Karnataka , Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. Planting of oilseeds, chiefly soyabean, sesamum and castor increased while groundnut and niger fell, taking total planting from the previous year to 3.10% increase at 178.27 lakh hectare.
Sugarcane, was planted on 51.94 lakh hectares, up 4.17% from a year earlier. Area under cotton however was 0.89% lower at 120.64 lakh hectares. The area of pulse cultivation too dropped 1.11% to 137.93 lakh hectares. Major dip was seen in uradbean.
Government expects to create 15 lakh tonnes silo capacity under PPP by 2019
Sep 24, 2018
India expects to double the capacity of silos under public-private partnership (PPP) by next year to 15 lakh tonnes as the government seeks to raise the nationwide holding count six-fold.
To be sure, land acquisition is a big challenge for the government’s ambitious plan of constructing 100 lakh tonne capacity of silos across the country. To maintain the quality of food grains, minimise losses and ensure rapid bulk movement of grains, the food ministry has taken up the task to construct modern silos for storage of wheat and rice.
For every tonne of food grain to be sent to the consuming states, we are targeting to build capacity in the procuring states. Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh are the key producing states. To date, bids for constructing silos by the Food Corporation of India (FCI), Central Warehousing Corporation and state agencies have been cleared for 45 lakh tonne capacity, said an official from FCI.
He said that the target was to have 30 lakh tonne capacity by 2020 and 50 lakh tonne by 2021. State governments of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Haryana are expected to come up with tenders by next month, said an official from the food ministry.
New tenders to set up 21 lakh tonne silos in Punjab, 1.5 lakh tonne in UP, 3 lakh tonne in West Bengal and 6.5 lakh tonne in Haryana will come by October, said the official.
Commerce Ministry rues steep decline in export credit
Sep 24, 2018
The Commerce Ministry has decided to take up with the RBI, the Finance Ministry and banks, the problems faced by exporters due to a sharp drop in export credit despite an increase in exports.
Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu will hold meetings with the Department of Financial Services in the Finance Ministry, the RBI and leading bankers to discuss ways to increase credit flow to exporters, a government official told BusinessLine.
In July 2018 (up to the 20th), export credit provided by banks fell about 47 per cent to Rs.21,900 crore compared to the same month last year. Overall lending to the priority sector, however, increased 7.5 per cent during the month, as per the latest RBI data. Even compared to March this year, there has been a 22.7 per cent drop in export credit.
The flow of credit to the export sector is at an all-time low. When export growth is over 15 per cent, there is no reason that export credit is down by 25 per cent or more. This is going to affect all exporters, said Ajay Sahai of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).
MSMEs worst hit
It is the MSME sector that is hit the most by the credit crunch as, without liquidity, they are unable to take orders.
With the refund of input tax credit continuing to be a stiff challenge, especially at the State level, it is a double whammy for exporters.
Exports from sectors dominated by MSME units — such as plantations, marine products, readymade garments, jute manufacturing including floor covering — continue to post a decline despite an overall growth in exports.
The government has to realise that you cannot talk about pushing up exports while not addressing the liquidity problems of exporters, said a Delhi-based exporter of garments. Banks have to be convinced to loosen their purse strings for exporters. If that doesn’t happen export growth will be erratic and labour-intensive sectors will continue to suffer.
The Hindu Businessline
Indian economy to reach USD 5 trillion size by 2022: PM Narendra Modi
Sep 24, 2018
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Thursday the size of Indian economy will double to USD 5 trillion by 2022 with manufacturing and agriculture contributing USD 1 trillion each.
Speaking at the foundation laying ceremony of India International Convention and Expo Centre here, he cited this week's announcement of merger of Dena BankNSE -6.03 %, Vijaya BankNSE -4.10 % and Bank of BarodaNSE -3.01 % to create the country's third largest lender to say that the government will not shy away from taking tough decisions in the national interest.
Indian economy, he said, will grow at over 8 per cent rate with massive employment generation being seen in IT and retail sectors. Macroeconomic fundamental of the economy are strong, he said.
The government's push for Make-in-India has led to 80 per cent of mobile phones currently in use being manufactured within the country, helping save Rs 3 lakh crore in foreign exchange.
The government, he said, has courage to take bold decisions.
Mills must produce raw sugar for now: Traders tell Maharashtra
Sep 24, 2018
With international sugar prices ruling at a decade’s low due to surplus supplies, sugar millers from Maharashtra have asked the state government to make it mandatory for millsNSE -5.15 % to produce raw sugar during the first two months of the crushing season beginning October 1.
As there is no demand for Indian white sugar, making it mandatory for mills to produce raw sugar during the first two months of the crushing season can help the sector, said BB Thombre, president, Western Indian Sugar Mills Association.
The industry was, however, not able to fulfill the earlier mandatory target of exporting 20 lakh tonnes of sugar during 2017-18, on the grounds that it was not financially viable. It has now demanded an increase in incentives given to sugarcane growers.
The Union cabinet, which was expected to take a call on export policy last week, is now likely to discuss the proposal in the current week. The decision expected to be taken by the Indian government is also being closed tracked by investors in international futures. Global prices are likely to touch 10 cents per pound if India begins exports.
Separate standards soon for frozen peas, beans, cauliflower and spinach: FSSAI
Sep 24, 2018
Companies in the business of selling frozen peas, beans, cauliflower and spinach may soon have to follow standards for hygiene, stability of colour and flavour before the vegetables are packaged.
For the first time, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is working on setting separate standards for the four categories of frozen vegetables.
It has released a draft regulations for these vegetables seeking stakeholders’ comments. The standards will be part of the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Amendment Regulations 2018.
Currently, there are regulations for thermally processed vegetables, ready-to-eat vegetables, canned tomatoes and frozen vegetables. Frozen vegetables, is a segment which is growing in strong double-digits, owing to growing demand from urban consumers.
The draft regulations havealso proposed for tolerance of visual defects such as blemishes and limits for extraneous vegetable material.
In addition, the draft proposes regulations for labelling of these frozen vegetables depending on whether they are packaged as whole, cut, sliced or chopped format. For instance, in case of frozen spinach, it will need to be labelled as whole spinach, cut spinach, chopped spinach or pureed spinach.
These regulations are getting finalised at a time when many companies are looking to get into the frozen vegetable segment. While Mother Dairy is one of the key players in this segment, recently Patanjali launched frozen peas, sweet corn and mixed vegetables in the packaged forms. Other companies such as ITC are also looking at this space, at a time when the government has been focusing on reduction of wastage by increase in processing of agricultural produce to increase farmers’ income.
Over the past two years, the FSSAI has been working on filling gaps as well as revising standards for various categories of processed food products.
Last month, the regulator had notified comprehensive standards for all pulses and new standards for pearl millet grains, maize flour, sago flour, bee wax and spring water. It also recently revised standards for honey to check adulteration through artificial colours and sugars.
The Hindu Businessline
TN to soon call for bids for agri produce processing centres
Sep 24, 2018
The Tamil Nadu government will shortly call for bids from agro-based investors to run the Primary Processing Centres in two districts — Krishnagiri and Coimbatore — under the proposed Rs.398.75 crore project of Supply Chain Management of Fruits, Vegetables and other perishables. The processing centres will procure the vegetables and fruits from the farmers.
The investors will put processing machinery in each centre to sort, grade and process the fruit and vegetables. They will pay fair prices to the farmers and have a direct tie-up with retail fruits and vegetable shops in the State and in other States/countries, according to an official statement.
The Department of Agricultural Marketing and Agri Business is implementing the project in hub-and-spoke format in 10 districts to integrate the farmer producers with major market centres, processors and consumers. The districts include Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Coimbatore, The Nilgiris, Thiruchirapalli, Dindigul, Theni, Ramanathapuram, Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli.
The objective is also to provide integrated and complete supply chain management infrastructure and support services for perishable fruits and vegetables, to reduce post-harvest losses and provide uninterrupted supply of quality produce to consumers round the year at affordable rates.
The project involves integration of farmers’ produce at 487 collection points, processing at 58 Primary Processing Centres and providing logistics support to take the produce to terminal markets.
As many as 10 Primary Processing centres are being established in Krishnagiri district at a cost of Rs.136.18 crore and seven in Coimbatore for Rs.40.74 crore.
The Hindu Businessline
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Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority
(Ministry of Commerce & Industry,
Govt. of India)
NCUI Building 3, Siri Institutional Area, August Kranti Marg, New Delhi - 110 016
Phone : 91-11-26513204, 26514572, 26534186
Fax : 91-11-26526187