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'Value addition of farm produce essential to increase export competitiveness' 

SME Times , Oct 30, 2020

APEDA Chairman M Angamuthu said that value addition and diversification are essential to increase export competitiveness and farmers' income.

Addressing a conference organized by FICCI, Angamuthu said that to successfully increase Agri export we must focus on increasing value addition and develop a strategy for diversification.

"Our farmers must get better farm income by doubling of exports. This is the right time to increase our productivity and diversify to value addition. We are designing specific strategies to improve organic agriculture and value addition in food items," he said.

Angamuthu further stated that organic farming is the way forward for agriculture in India and the North East leads by example. The increasing trend of organic agricultural produce is on the rise and necessary steps must be taken to promote organic farming and improve our organic identity globally.

"We have a properly designed Agri export policy, which has provisions of incentives for exporters, fund to promote Agri start-ups and encourage first- time exporters," he added.

To realise the Prime Minister's mission to develop ten thousand FPOs, Angamuthu urged business chambers and corporates to work and develop a greater number of Farmer-Producer Organizations and Agri-export entrepreneurs.

He further mentioned that by serving as a bridge between agriculture and manufacturing and by meeting the basic need of assured supply of healthy and affordable food to all people across the country, the sector has the potential to be a major driver of India's growth in the coming years.

Sanjay Sacheti, Co-Chairman, FICCI National Agriculture Committee & Country Head & Executive Director, Olam Agro India Pvt Ltd said that considering the sustainable food surplus which India is experiencing, the need of the hour is to aggressively grow our Agri exports so that the agriculture sector continues to grow at a fast pace thereby enhancing farmers' incomes.

For this, we need to develop a robust Agri export strategy which is market oriented and encourages large scale private sector participation in agricultural exports, he said.

T R Kesavan, Chairman, FICCI National Agriculture Committee & Group President, TAFE Ltd said that we need to design a brand India for agriculture that will ensure quality and reliability globally. We also need high connectivity both via the sea and air routes to reduce export costs.

"Improved logistics and strategies to curb losses at pre and post-harvest stage will help generate surplus for exports," he added.

Nitin Puri, Group President & Global Head, Food & Agribusiness Strategic Advisory & Research, Yes Bank said that as knowledge partner of event, I feel that the larger challenge remains how to build larger, longer-term scalable competitiveness rather than opportunistic trade that takes place occasionally.

He mentioned that infrastructure, investment, value addition and enhanced supply chain competitiveness will be the key to double agriculture exports.



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