In the first quarter of the current financial year, India’s agricultural export was down 19 per cent in terms of value over the last year, primarily on the back of lower exports to the US and Bangladesh.
India’s total agri-export in the first three months of the last financial year was $6.36 billion, which tumbled to $5.18 billion in the present financial year, data from Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority showed.
Exports to the US were down by 59 per cent, at about $ 793 million between April-June this year over the last year. A price crash of guar gum, the highest exported agri-commodity to the US from India, has been one of the biggest reasons for the decline in exports. Guar gum exports to the US fell 63 per cent in terms of value, but remained flat in terms of quantity, over a year’s time. Last year saw an unexpected spurt in guar gum prices due to bulk purchase from US shale gas companies in the beginning of the year and very low demand by the end of the year. The prices fell from about peak prices of Rs 1,025 a kg in April-May 2012, to Rs 200 per kg by October-December 2012.
Apart from the US, India’s exports to Bangladesh also saw a substantial fall in value, 66 per cent over a year’s time at $87 million. Last year, India exported jaggery and confectionery worth $150 million to Bangladesh, against nil in the first quarter of the present financial year.
However, the positive news for India comes from Iran, which saw a 140 per cent jump in export value in the first three months of the financial year at $682 million. The export growth was driven by exports of Basmati rice to the country, which saw a 160 per cent or three fold rise in realisation over a year’s time. Iran accounts for 40 per cent of India’s Basmati exports, which were dented by the payment crisis last year.
In terms of product mix, Basmati has emerged as India’s top export commodity from India, followed by buffalo meat and guar gum, in the first quarter of the this financial year. India’s Basmati rice export increased by 62 per cent, while that of guar gum fell by 59 per cent in the first quarter. Buffalo meat exports, currently, India’s second largest agri-export commodity in terms of value, increased by 20 per cent in a year’s time.