Food processing, agriculture ministries vying for APEDA

Economy


NEW DELHI: The food processing and agriculture ministries are vying to get export development body Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) under their respective wings, said people in the know of the development, to better integrate with the industry and increase exports. “This is a tussle between agriculture and food processing ministries. The latter is more keen citing administrative ease in order to give importance to exports. This is a matter of discussion. However, there can be convergence on the issue as the commerce department has domain knowledge in the area,” said a person in the know of the details.

At present, APEDA, an autonomous body under the commerce department, is responsible for export promotion and development of 14 agricultural and processed food product groups besides monitoring the import of sugar. India’s exports in 2018-19 were $331 billion of which those under APEDA were $18.8 billion.

In a recent meeting, the commerce ministry asked the industry associations whether product-specific export promotion councils for processed food were required to boost exports, said persons in the know.

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A representative of an association who was part of the meeting in the commerce ministry on Moday said that the government is keen to increase exports from the country and is looking at different mechanisms. Most of the discussions are in initial stages, he said.

The Indian Dairy Association, Soyabean Processors Associations and the All India Dal Mill Association said that they are in favour of more export promotion councils, while the All India Rice Exporters’ Association and All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Association favoured status quo, he said.

“Higher minimum support price of agri commodities in India is making it unviable for us to compete in the international market and we all are looking at export subsidy from the government,” said a president of an agri trade association.



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