Ban on export of processed food products lifted

Tags: Knowledge
Cabinet committee on economic affairs, on Thursday, lifted ban on exports of processed foods and value added agricultural products. These include wheat of meslin flour, cereal flours, groats, meal pellets and grains, milk products including casein and its products, butter and other fat derivatives from milk and dairy spread, cheese and curd and value added products of onion and peanut butter.

The move will give a push to India’s sagging merchandise exports and is estimated to add $5 billion to exports over the next two year with West Asia identified as a key market for processed food from India. Besides, it will help Indian exporters to move up the value chain as well as create additional employment in the country.

At present, India’s major agricultural exports comprises of raw or primary produce and unprocessed or semi processed agriculture commodities, which are susceptible to restrictions owi­ng to various reasons such as bad weather conditions, deficient or delayed rainfall and food security issues.

“The exports of processed and value added products constitute a very miniscule portion of the overall exports, and hence their continuation would not affect the availability in the domestic market owing to very marginal processing capacity in the country. Always open policy of this sector will not only help reduce wastage of perishable products but also encourage value addition,” a statement from CCEA said.

For long, there has been no consistent policy on exports of agricultural products in India, as a result of which the overseas buyers were reluctant to import from India to meet their domestic requirement year-after-year. Even for the raw or primary agricultural pro­ducts, India has been adopting switch-on and switch-off approach citing issues of domestic food security.

Industry experts feel that Thursday’s decision will now bring clarity on India’s stand on exports of proc­essed food and agricultural products and help generate additional exports in coming years.

“The government’s decision to finally open up exports of processed food will add to per unit realisation for our exporters, and we will see more investments coming into the sector, to cat­er to overseas markets now,” Ajay Sahai, director general of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations, added.

yogimassharma@mydigitalfc.com

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