In April-October (2021-22) period, India’s wheat exports surpassed $ 872 million from only $135 million achieved in April-October (2020-21) and set to achieve an all-time record shipment in the current financial year

New Delhi : India’s cereals exports continue to surge notwithstanding disruption of global supplies because of COVID19 pandemic.

In the first seven months (April-October) of the current financial year (2021-22), India’s wheat exports in terms of volume rose by more than 527 per cent to 3.2 Million Tonne (MT) from 0.51 MT reported during April-October period of 2020-21. In terms of value, India’s wheat exports in the current fiscal (April – October) rose by 546 per cent to $ 872 million from $ 135 million reported during the same period of the previous fiscal.

In the current financial year (2021-22), India’s wheat exports is expected to achieve an all-time record high as it has already surpassed shipment of 2.09 MT achieved during 2020-21.

With India being the world’s top rice exporter, wheat exports have witnessed a 48.56 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) during 2016-2020. The country’s wheat exports touched $ 243 million in 2020 against $ 50 million in 2016, according to ITC Trade Map, 2021 data.

India’s wheat exports are mainly to neighbouring countries with Bangladesh having the largest share of more than 54 per cent in both volume and value terms in 2020-21. In 2020-21, India entered new wheat markets such as Yemen, Afghanistan, Qatar and Indonesia.

The top ten importing countries for Indian wheat in 2020-21 are Bangladesh, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Afghanistan, Qatar, Indonesia, Oman and Malaysia, according to data by Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCIS). Top ten countries which accounted for more than 94 per cent of India’s wheat exports in 2016-17, now have 99 per cent share in exports in 2020-21 both volume and value terms.

Though India is not among the top ten wheat exporters in the global trade, its rate of growth in exports have surpassed that of all these countries, indicating the rapid strides it is taking in reaching new markets worldwide.

The rise in wheat exports has been achieved because of the Agricultural Products Exports Development Authority (APEDA) taking up various initiatives such as organizing B2B exhibitions in different countries, exploring new potential markets and initiating marketing campaigns with active involvement of Indian Embassies.

“We are giving thrust on building infrastructure in the value chain for giving boosts to cereal exports in collaboration with the state governments and other stakeholders such as exporters, farmer producer organizations, transporters etc,” Dr. M Angamuthu, Chairman, APEDA said.

India accounts for even less than one per cent in world wheat export. However, its share has increased from 0.14 per cent in 2016 to 0.54 per cent in 2020. India is the second largest producer of wheat with a share of around 13.53 per cent of world total production. India produces around 107.59 MT of wheat annually while a major chunk of it goes towards domestic consumption.

The unit price of wheat also plays an important role in international trade. While the unit export price of wheat has increased for all countries in the last five years, India’s unit export price is slightly higher than that of other countries. This is one of the factors adversely impacting wheat exports from India.

APEDA has been focusing on facilitating shipments by Indian exporters and helping them make inroads into new markets. In March 2021, it organized its first Virtual Trade Fair – India Rice and Agro Commodity Show, where participation of wheat exporters was also organized. Since physical meetings cannot be organized due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been organizing a series of virtual buyer-seller meets with Embassies, importers, exporters and product associations from India in the last two years. The virtual sessions involved wheat exporters also. A sensitization programme for wheat startups was organized to familiarize them about export opportunities.

In order to ensure seamless quality certification of products to be exported, APEDA has recognized 220 labs across India to provide testing services for a wide range of products and exporters.

APEDA also assists in upgradation and strengthening of recognized laboratories for export testing and residue monitoring plans. APEDA also provides assistance under the financial assistance schemes of infrastructure development, quality improvement and market development for boosting export of agricultural products.

Table: India’s top ten wheat export destinations (2020-21)

Country Quantity (in tones) Value (in US$ million) Share % in volume terms Share % in value terms
Bangladesh 1157399.35 299.4 55.4 54.5
Nepal 330707.74 83.23 15.8 15.1
UAE 187949.46 51 9.0 9.3
Sri Lanka 94039.63 24.73 4.5 4.5
Yemen Republic 86000 24.05 4.1 4.4
Afghanistan 55584 19.03 2.7 3.5
Qatar 63452.87 16.75 3.0 3.0
Indonesia 56051 15.29 2.7 2.8
Oman 30179.33 8.37 1.4 1.5
Malaysia 9509.33 2.54 0.5 0.5
Total (top ten countries) 2070873 544 99 99
Total Exports 2,088,488 550 100 100

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