There was a time when India used to be called the ‘Golden Bird’ of the world. The country was so prosperous that while the rest of the world was busy collecting nutrients for themselves, India was building Mandirs with golden bricks. Later, waves of attacks put an impediment to this status for centuries. But, on the eve of 75 years of our political independence, we are emerging as both Doctors and Farmers of the world.
India’s export basket burgeons
According to statistics released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in January 2022, India’s merchandise exports were worth $34.06 Billion. It was a remarkable increase of 23.69 percent over $27.54 billion in January 2021. This was in line with India’s overall performance during FY 2022. In FY 2022, India surpassed $400 Billion in exports which is higher than the five-year average of $300 Billion, before the pandemic hit global trade.
Interestingly, Agricultural and allied sector segments were one of the key catalysts in increasing exports.
There is an ongoing food shortage in several parts of the world. During the crisis, India emerged as the food basket of the world. India supported countries on all fronts. India has food-funded various countries including, the US, Iran, UAE, Bangladesh, Sudan, and many more.
Pharmacy of the World
According to Statista analysis, in January 2021, India delivered COVID-19 vaccines to various countries across the globe. India exported 2,000,000 doses of vaccine to Bangladesh, 1,500,000 to Myanmar, 1,000,000 to Nepal, 5,00,000 to Sri Lanka, 1,50,000 to Bhutan among others.
A wave of Indian agricultural produce
According to official data, India has seen the highest surge in exports of Agri products in the last FY. The numbers are better than the average of the last five years.
The average value of export of agricultural produce from 2016 to 2020 was around $28.28 billion. Now, compare this meager number to that of FY 2020-2021. In Financial Year 2021, it was $41.25 billion. It’s a whopping 45 percent increase over the average of the past 4 years. In 2022, the Agri exports registered a further spike as their cumulative value jumped to $50 billion.
The commodities that showed a significant growth rate are rice, wheat, marine products, pulses, and spices. As per the data released by the Ministry of Agricultural and Farmers Welfare for 2020-21, export of wheat and other cereals witnessed huge growth over last one year. The total value of wheat exports increased from ₹ 425 Crore to ₹ 3283 Crore. The number is expected to more than triple for FY 2022, as compared to FY 21 figures, India exported more than triple the amount of wheat.
On the other hand, the value of cereals exports surged from ₹ 1318 Crore to ₹ 4542 Crore. Similarly, the value of rice (non-basmati) exports was recorded to be $4.8 billion in FY 2021 and $6.1 billion in FY 2022.
While analyzing the past five-year history of the value of spices exported from India, a considerable rate of increase can be noticed. According to Statista data, during FY 2016- 2020, the value of spices export recorded an average of ₹ 209.52 million. On the other hand, in FY 2021, it was ₹ 295.36 million. In percentage terms, the 2021 figure was 41 percent higher than the average of the last 5 years.
Marine products emerging as a key feature of Agri export story
A significant share of India’s food exports also include fish and fishery products. The total average monetary value of India’s marine products’ exports from FY 2016 to 2020 was ₹ 427.52 billion. It further increased in FY 2021 and reached ₹ 441.76 billion ($ 5.96 billion). In FY 2022, it registered another high with total marine exports valuing around $ 7.74 billion.
All in all, amidst the huge list of exporting products, India’s agricultural products catered to the global demands during the COVID-19 crisis. Wheat exports saw an immense rise, while growth in dairy exports was within touching distance of wheat. On the other hand, rice exports also saw a considerable growth rate. And With the Ukraine war not expected to end in the foreseeable future, grain exports are likely to rise more in the estimates for FY 2023.
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It is evident that India is emerging as the food basket of the world. It is moving at a rapid pace to increase its exports which will not just help the world to sustain itself but will also lead to an increase in India’s economic and political clout.
India has expanded its aiding branches from food to vaccines. India became the savior during COVID 19 crisis by providing its vaccines to the world. India is ranked as the largest producer of vaccines in the world. The Modi government took on the responsibility of inoculating the world through a humanitarian initiative called “Vaccine Maitri”. The initiative drew a vast swathe of praise from leaders all around the world.
The supply chain crisis in the wake of Covid-19 proved to be a wonderful opportunity for India. India’s helping hand came out to be a blessing for the world.