Exporters in the region have voiced the need for establishment of a branch office of DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade) of Union Commerce Ministry in Tiruchi, in the context of noticeable increase in handling of cargo to foreign destinations from the Tiruchi International Airport over the years.
There are only three DGFT offices for the whole of Tamil Nadu -- the zonal office at Chennai and branch offices at Madurai and Coimbatore. With export of agricultural farm produce and agro commodities through the Tiruchi International Airport rising over the years, the increasing volume has generated more number of exporters. Presence of a DGFT branch office in Tiruchi will be quite helpful in providing the exporters with Import-Export Code (IEC) Number and updating them about the various developments on the EXIM front in a much better way, Baskaran, Proprietor of SSV Imports and Exports, a firm exporting fresh vegetables and fruits to Singapore for nearly a decade, said.
Besides allotting IEC, the DGFT, through its offices, funds export promotion councils, industry and trade associations, and agencies of State governments on their various endeavours; provides financial aid for meeting expenses in marketing and trade; and facilitates development of Export Oriented Units, Special Economic Zones, Technology and Bio-Tech parks for the purpose of importing capital goods and services at a discounted rate of customs duty.
Start of a DGFT branch office in Tiruchi will be an encouraging factor for export of deluxe rice to foreign destinations from the delta region, exporters say, and anticipate significant export orders for the processed products of onion. They intend to source onion paste, onion powder, onion flakes, and nitrogen vacuum packed peeled onions from the processing centre in Perambalur district established by the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology, Thanjavur, for export. The Institute had established the facility last year in association with the State Department of Agricultural Marketing. According to official statistics, farmers in Perambalur district are producing 70,000 tonnes of shallots per year in a cultivation area of 8,000 hectares.
Presence of a branch office of DGFT in Tiruchi will, no doubt, lead to emergence of a good number of export entrepreneurs provided efforts are taken to increase the number of certifying agencies, for quality assurance, in right proportion, according to Balakrishnan, a Karur-based exporter.
The Confederation of Indian Industry, Tiruchi Zone, which has been emphasising establishment of agricultural processing zone in the region, has understandably factored in block-wise advantages for starting food-based enterprises. CII Tiruchi Zone will pursue with the Central and State governments the desire of agri-product exporters for establishment of DGFT branch office in Tiruchi, S. Ananthakrishnan, its president said.