India can push up agri exports to $70 billion

India has the potential to increase its agricultural exports to $70 billion from the current $40 billion in a few years, if it invests $8-10 billion across inputs, infrastructure and processing capacity, said a report submitted by an expert group recently. 

The High level group on agricultural exports, constituted by the 15th Finance Commission also suggested increased focus on 22 crop value chains and recommended setting up of state led export plan with participation from stake holders.

These additional exports can create 7-10 million additional jobs.

It further said these plans should be prepared collaboratively with commodity boards and private sector players who should play an anchor role. The experts said private sector players should a play pivotal role in ensuring demand orientation and focus on value addition, ensure project plans are feasible, robust, implementable and appropriately funded.

There should be a business plan for each crop value chain cluster, and this will lay out the opportunity, initiatives and investment required to meet the desired value chain export aspiration. These plans should be action-oriented, time-bound and outcome-focused, the expert group, headed by Sanjiv Puri, ITC Group CMD.

Among other members of the expert groups were former Agriculture Secretary Radha Singh, Nestle CMD Suresh Narayanan, UPL CEO Jai Shroff and PK Borthakar, former Chairman of APEDA.