Multi sectoral efforts to boost export of Agri Food & allied products from West Bengal

“MCCI Bengal Agri Food & Allied Exporters’ Forum 2019”  organised by MCCI in Kolkata on 15th November 2019 to deliberate on multi sectoral effort to boost export of agri food & allied products  from West Bengal .

Addressing the august gathering including agri exporters , large farmers , agri scientists, officers of various organisations facilitating agri trade , Shri Rajesh Kumar Sinha,  Secretary, Department of Agricultural Marketing & Agriculture, Govt. of West Bengal said that since domestic demand is being met,  West Bengal  has  to tailor food production for other markets within India and in other nations . He said that contract farming needs to be promoted and West Bengal has started work on contract farming  and introduction  of modern techniques & practises to boost agricultural production . The problem lies in moving the crop from the farmers’ field to the consumers’ plate, as 30 p.c. of food is wasted. He added that in West Bengal there is an acute shortage of proper packaging facility which is hindering in the growth of exports. A Japanese firm judged a vegetable produce of West Bengal using 128 parameters and it took samples from Singur and North Bengal. West Bengal passed in all the parameters and came number one regarding the export quality.  

  Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA)  Deputy General Manager R. K. Mondal said that there is no growth in exports of fresh fruits. The country is not able to project itself as a potential exporter of food and in order to promote exports this is the right time to work with Farmer Producer Companies (FPC). APEDA is not able to give farmers the assurance that their product will be successfully exported. APEDA  provide assistance of upto 40% of the total project cost for any new project related to agri exports,  He  invited  entrepreneurs to avail of such advantages.   

The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA)’s  Deputy Director  Archiman Lahiri said that West Bengal is growing well in the marine sector. MPEDA is diversifying to crabs and sea bass. It is trying to revive black tiger prawn in West Bengal.

West Bengal Fruits & Vegetables Exporters’ Welfare Association ‘s Joint Secretary,said that export of fruits and vegetables from both West Bengal and India has dropped in recent years and Government initiative is needed. All exporters are facing problems with quarantine. A proactive role for the Government is needed with better coordination among Government Departments. He expressed concern as the phyto certificate is not easily available from the Department which has affected the export of betel leaf, potato and other agriculture & horticulture products although there is a large market overseas for such products . 

Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya (BCKV)   Vice-Chancellor, Dr. D. D. Patra, said that given its growing population, land is getting squeezed and India will  need 50 p.c. more food in future . India needs proper planning to reduce food wastage. Also, diversification of cropping system is necessary. He expressed concern about non availability of labour in the farm sector.

 In welcome address , Shri Vishal Jhajharia, President, MCCI  said that the Union Government approved India’s first ever Agriculture Export Policy, 2018 in last December. The Government had already come out with a policy to double farmers’ income by 2022, and it is without any doubt that exports of agricultural products would play a pivotal role in achieving this goal.The broad objectives of the Policy include : doubling agricultural exports from present ~US$ 30+ Billion to ~US$ 60+ Billion by 2022 and reach US$ 100 Billion in the next few years .

MCCI President emphasised that Bengal has huge potential in the Agri-business and agri-exports sectors and the multiplier effects can go a long way in transforming the socio-economic landscape of the State. West Bengal must take pro-active steps to tap the markets of South Asia, South East Asia and the Middle East and increase it’s agri-exports to these high potential markets, he mentioned.  

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