India’s agricultural exports could grow from $40 billion to $70 billion within a few years, adding up to 10 million jobs in the process, a high-level expert group (HLEG) set up by the 15th Finance Commission said in its report.
The HLEG said that to achieve the enhanced targets, the estimated investment in agricultural exports could range from $8-10 billion across inputs, infrastructure and processing. This would lead to higher farm productivity and farmer income.
The HLEG recommended a state-led export plan which will include a business plan for a crop value chain cluster to achieve export targets. “These plans will be action-oriented, time-bound and outcome-focused,” the HLEG said in its report submitted to the N.K. Singh-led 15th Finance Commission. The recommendations of the high-level group will form part of the finance commission report which is being readied.
Among the components of the state-led Export Plan, the help of private sector players and commodity boards will be taken in driving outcomes and execution. “Institutional governance should be promoted across the state and centre. Funding through the convergence of existing schemes, Finance Commission allocation and private sector investment,” the report said.
The HELG comprised Sanjiv Puri, chairman and managing director, ITC, Radha Singh, Former Agriculture Secretary; Manoj Joshi, representative of Ministry of Food Processing Industries; Diwakar Nath Misra, Chairman and Paban Kumar Borthakur, Former Chairman, APEDA; Suresh Narayanan, CMD, Nestle India; Jai Shroff, CEO, UPL Limited; Sanjay Sacheti, Country Head India, Olam Agro India Ltd; Dr Sachin Chaturvedi, Director General, Research and Information System for Developing Countries.
The HELG pushed for private sector players to have a pivotal role in ensuring demand orientation, feasible project plans and in providing funds for technology.
The HLEG recommended a greater focus on 22 crop value chains, the setting up of value chain clusters, among performance-based incentives to the state governments for the period 2021-22 to 2025-26, to accelerate reforms in the agriculture sector.