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Agri Exports From Maharashtra Take A Hit

Date 13-March-2015
Subject Agri Exports From Maharashtra Take A Hit

If India's total agricultural exports dropped this year, then Maharashtra's took a nosedive. Onions, grapes, pulses are the worst hit. Onion exports from the state dipped by 103%, from April to December 2014, (as compared to the same period in 2013-14), bringing its 2013 export value down from Rs 1,255 crore to Rs 683 crore.

Grape exports dipped by 40%, with its export value reducing by more than 23% this financial year. The export of pulses from Maharashtra too fell by 48%.

Exports of other processed vegetables and fruits, basmati rice, mangoes, other fresh fruits and vegetables and cereals also took a hit. In case of cereals, exports under the category of 'other cereals' came down by 39% in Maharashtra. Exports under floriculture also reduced by 9% this fiscal.

Basmati rice exports from the state went down by 4%, though the export value increased from last fiscal's Rs 29 crore to Rs 33 crore.

Officials in the state agricultural department said that Maharashtra is a major exporter of grapes, mangoes and onions. Grapes are exported to the European Union,Middle East, China, and South-East Asian countries in bulk, whereas mangoes are supplied to Europe and the Middle Eastern countries. Onions are mostly exported to the Middle East, the official said.

"Bad quality of grapes due to inclement weather, unseasonal rainfall several times in the year brought down the export in 2014-2015. Such weather tends to cause cracks and fungus in grapes. They lost out to the produce from other exporting countries," the official said.

The unseasonal rain damaged onion seed plots in the state, thereby, affecting the export. Fixing of minimum export price on onions by the government also affected onion exports to other countries, he said.

Ankit Poddar, managing partner at an export company in Mumbai, Vashi and Pimplegaon, said that one of the reasons which affected onion exports was a glut of onions going to the Middle East from Pakistan this fiscal. "Onions from Pakistan was in excess in 2014-15 and the Middle East got huge quantities of Pakistani onion at cheaper rates. This is why Indian onion lost out to the Pakistani onion as the latter was relatively low-priced," said Poddar, whose company deals in the export of onions, grapes, pomegranate and mangoes.

Moreover, Indian grapes were not much in demand in Europe and Russia this fiscal. Hence, exporters were forced to export the extra produce to Dubai. "Due to high supply of grapes in UAE and comparatively less demand, the market for grapes crashed and exporters had to sell grapes at below-cost prices," added Poddar.

Dhiraj Dayma, an exporter of tomatoes, lemons, chilies and grapes in Nashik said that his company exports grapes mainly to Russia, where the currency devalued, leading to a drop in demand for this fruit.

Source : timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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