Partition of India led to the most productive parts of India’s agricultural land this made India dependent on food imports. (PLI-480 program). However, despite domestic production increasing till the 1990s India’s agricultural exports was not very significant due to instability of domestic production and inward looking trade policies.
However, since the 1990s India became a net exporter of agricultural commodities. Exports increased in both dollars terms and as a proportion of total agricultural output.
- Green Revolution: Green Revolution boosted agricultural productivity in the areas of Punjab, Haryana , Western Uttar Pradesh and coastal deltas of Andhra Pradesh. This made India sufficient in food-production.
- Marketing reforms: such as introduction of MSP regime and based on recommendations of CACP, formation of Food Corporation of India for mandatory procurement of cereals from farmers incentivised farmers to boost production of cereals.
- Adoption of high yielding variety (HYVs) seeds by farmers has led to increase in per hectare productivity as well as cropping intensity. Later interventions like introduction of Bt-Cotton boosted cotton productivity.
- Widespread canal irrigation in alluvial rich areas of northern and coastal areas has brought more area under cultivation leading to increase in overall production.
- Slowdown in population growth compared to growth of agricultural production leading to surplus produce which could be exported.
- Improved infrastructure: like roads, rail, warehouses, cold storages etc have reduced post-harvest losses.
- Agro based industries promoted value addition as well as strengthened the forward linkages with foreign countries.
- Marin food exports: Schemes like PMMSY, setting up of Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund.
- Liberal export policies: First following the economic reforms and later because of WTO agreement. This was further liberalised due to various FTAs signed by India.
- Other government policies like land reforms, MSP, Agriculture export policy, setting up of Canada, PMKSY, PMFBY, National mission for sustainable agriculture all have reformed the agriculture sector and ultimately increased the food exports.
India’s Agricultural Export Policy aims that India’s net agri-exports should cross $60 billion. This gradual outward orientation of agricultural exports will improve India’s image as provider of global food security, boost farmers income and earn foreign exchange for the country.
This can be done by increasing competitiveness by agricultural diversification, boosting productivity, shift towards organic and higher value-added products and developing logistics infrastructure in agricultural exports.