Friday, August 26, 2011: 02:57:18 PM

Food Processing Poll Feature

High production may trigger food grain exports

In spite of high food grain production the question remains whether India is ready to export food grains

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Indian food production has reached new heights each year over the last few years. While some have been convinced that the nation is ready to export surplus rice and wheat, some feel that there is still sufficient domestic demand. With food inflation continuing to pose a challenge for the government as well as the common man, the idea of food export continues to elude authorities.

 
In a recent survey by FoodProcessing360, respondents unanimously agreed that higher production did pave the way for food grain export. If the inflation rates are under control and the production continues to flourish, food grain export might not be a far fetched idea after all.
 
Experts speak
 
According to Dr Ashwini Kumar Pani, ex-deputy general manager and regional head (Kolkata) of the Agricultural Finance Corporation, who is currently engaged as professor (marketing) at Army Institute, Kolkata, “Indian agriculture needs immense attention. Though the production is high, there is huge wastage. Capital needs to flow into the processing sector.” It is clear that exporting food grains will bring in the much-needed capital into the agricultural sector and therefore boost prospects for the sector, but food shortage in the country continues to be a major deterrent. Reports indicate that 40% of the farm produce which is worth a huge amount is wasted each year due to lack of storage or processing facilities.
 
Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, who lifted the ban on exports last month, said in a statement to the media that the country had more stocks than its requirement. However, he said that there were concerns about selling wheat in the international market where the price is already quite low.
 
It is clear that while the ban stands lifted, whether the Indian government will facilitate the export of primary food grains like rice and wheat in view of the high food inflation rates remains to be seen.
 
Tias Chakraborty

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