Steps Taken to Boost Agri Exports: APEDA, MPEDA, Export Policy

PMF IAS Current Affairs
  • India broke into the top 10 list of agricultural produce exporters in 2019 with a sizeable share in the export of rice, basmati, cotton, sugar, castor oil, soya beans and meat, according to WTO’s World Agricultural Trade In The Past 25 Years report.
  • India’s arable land area is 159.6 million hectares (according to the 9th Agriculture Census 2010-11), only next to the United States. Its gross irrigated crop area of 82.6 mha is the largest in the world. However, its total agricultural exports account for just over 2.15% of the world’s agricultural trade.

Steps Taken by Government to Boost Agri Exports

Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Authority (APEDA)

  • APEDA is a statutory body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. It was established under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act, 1985. It is the apex body for agricultural export promotion in India.
  • Functions of APEDA:
    • Development of industries relating to the scheduled products for export
    • Registration of persons as exporters of the scheduled products
    • Fixing standards and specifications for the scheduled products for exports
    • Carrying out inspection of meat and meat products in slaughterhouses, processing plants, storage premises, conveyances, or other places where such products are kept or handled
    • Improving packaging of the Scheduled products
    • Improving marketing of the Scheduled products outside India
  • Scheduled products include fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, etc. In addition, APEDA has been entrusted with monitoring sugar imports.

Marine Products Exports Development Authority (MPEDA)

  • MPEDA is a statutory body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. It was established under the Marine Products Export Development Authority Act, 1972. It is the apex body for fish and fishery products export promotion in India.

National Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture (NaCSA)

  • National Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture (NaCSA) is an extension arm of MPEDA. The objectives of NaCSA are to encourage and uplift the small and marginal farmers through the organisation of clusters and maintaining Best Management Practices in shrimp culture.
  • The advantage of the cluster approach is that it enables participating farmers to organise the schedule of farm operations, quality seed procurement, etc., contributing to a substantial cost reduction.
  • NaCSA’s eSanta portal is an electronic market that helps aqua farmers and buyers to interact directly.
  • MPEDA functions under the Ministry of Commerce (not the Ministry of Fisheries)
  • APEDA functions under the Ministry of Commerce (not under the Ministry of Agriculture)

Shaphari Scheme

  • MPEDA has developed a certification scheme for aquaculture products called Shaphari (meaning superior quality in Sanskrit). It is based on FAO technical guidelines on aquaculture certification. It will have two components:
    1. Certification of Hatcheries for the quality of seeds (will help farmers easily identify good quality seed producers)
    2. Approving shrimp farms
Problems Faced by Shrimp Sector
  • White Feces Disease & Running Mortality Syndrome diseases continue to be the primary challenge to the productivity & profitability of shrimp farming in India. Consignments are rejected because of safety concerns like the presence of antibiotic residue.
Export Potential
  • Frozen Shrimp is India’s most exported seafood item, with the U.S. & China as the biggest buyers. Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Gujarat & Tamil Nadu are major shrimp producing States.

Agriculture Export Policy, 2018

  • To provide an impetus to agricultural exports, GOI has come out with Agriculture Export Policy, 2018. The policy is aimed at doubling agricultural exports and integrating Indian farmers and agricultural products with the global value chains.
  • The new agriculture export policy bridges the gap between the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Agriculture. An integrated approach by the two ministries is expected to boost agriculture production and trade.
  • Agri Export Policy suggests developing product-specific clusters in the country with the involvement of Farm Producer Organizations (FPOs). The policy also aims at addressing the obstacles faced by FPOs through an organisation like Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC).
  • FPOs help smallholders to reduce the cost of produce by procuring necessary inputs in bulk at wholesale rates, aggregating produce and bulk transport, reducing marketing costs, etc.

Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC)

  • GOI established SFAC as a Society in 1994. The Society is chaired, ex-officio, by Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
  • SFAC organises small and marginal farmers as Farmers Interest Groups, Farmers Producers Organisation (FPO) and Farmers Producers Company (FPC) to endow them with bargaining power and economies of scale.
  • To bring better synergy in the activities, APEDA has signed an MoU with SFAC. They will work together to link the FPOs/FPCs with the exporters. Currently, there are around 1000 FPOs/FPCs registered with SFAC.
The main functions of SFAC are
  • Facilitate agri-business ventures by catalysing private investment through Venture Capital Assistance (VCA) Scheme in close association with financial institutions.
  • Helping the formation and growth of FPOs/FPCs.
  • Improving the availability of working capital and development of business activities of FPOs/FPCs through Equity Grant and Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme.
  • Implementation of the National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Electronic Trading platform.

Foreign Trade Policy

Transport and Marketing Assistance (TMA) for Specified Agriculture Products

  • Ministry of Commerce & Industry has notified TMA for Specified Agriculture Products.
  • Under the TMA scheme, the government will reimburse a particular portion of freight charges and assist with the marketing of agricultural produce to boost exports of certain commodities.
  • All exporters duly registered with the relevant Export Promotion Council for eligible agriculture products shall be covered under this scheme. Assistance would be provided through a direct bank transfer.

Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) Scheme

  • It is a scheme designed to reward exporters for offsetting infrastructural inefficiencies and associated costs. The objective is to promote the manufacture and export of notified goods/products.
  • In addition, assistance to the exporters of agricultural products is also available under the Export Promotion Schemes of APEDA, MPEDA, Tobacco Board, Tea Board, Coffee Board, Rubber Board & Spices Board.
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