Punjab looks to basmati rice, citrus, buffalo meat to boost agri exports

With the focus on crop diversification and generating higher income for farmers, the agriculture export policy (AEP) 2019 of Punjab, notified on November 21, aims to more than double the value of its total exports in the financial year 2027-28 from 2017-18. The Punjab Agri Export Corporation Limited (Pagrexco) has been appointed the nodal agency for the implementation of AEP, which emphasises on identifying commodities with higher export potential in the long term that include dairy products, processed vegetables, buffalo/pork meat, maize and maize products, basmati rice, processed fruits, juices and nuts and fresh vegetables and fruits.

According to the concept prepared by Pagrexco, the key objectives of AEP include framing a medium to long-term strategy to increase exports of agricultural produce from the state and strengthening back-end and front-end infrastructure to boost exports of fresh and value-added fruits and vegetables from Punjab. The other objectives are “to identify focused commodities and to identify clusters for developing export related infrastructure and undertake capacity building of farmers to get advantage of export market and to promote public-private initiative in developing competitive export infrastructure and high yielding export oriented farm production for better farmer-producer organisation linkage.”

Pagrexco concept note mentions, “Agri export strategy for Punjab has been designed after having detailed interactions with various central/state government bodies, private players, exporters, and associations. This policy was developed to devise the area specific policy interventions across the value chains of export potential commodities from the state.”

According to figures by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, Punjab had contributed 16% to India’s total agricultural and processed food products exports valued at $1,923 million in 2017-18. The new export policy aims to take Punjab’s total exports to $4,997 million in 2027-28, which is about 233.85% more than 2017-18.

Key exports from Punjab in 2017-18 included basmati rice, cereal preparations, buffalo meat, alcoholic beverages, fruit and vegetable seeds, natural honey, other cereals and non-basmati rice. Major importers from Punjab were Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the US, the UAE, the UK, Pakistan, Kuwait, Oman, Iran and Vietnam.

The AEP has the target to take the value of basmati rice exports to $2,851 million in the long term (2027-28) from $ 1,800 in 2017-18. The short to medium term (2022-23) target is $2,592. Punjab is also betting big on citrus (sweet mandarin) and buffalo meat exports with the aim to take total exports of both to $660 million and $522 million in 2027-28 from $11 million and $21.8 million respectively.