Farm exports, led by rice, jumped by 13 per cent during April-September as dealers overseas built up stocks amid fears of a ban by the EU, which strengthened quality norms. According to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda), exports of agricultural products registered with it jumped to $8.73 billion in April-September from $7.69 billion in the corresponding period a year ago. In rupee terms, Apeda-registered exports jumped by 8.64 per cent to Rs 56,183 crore from Rs 51,499 crore. The rise in farm exports was primarily driven by rice, both basmati and non-basmati, which contribute nearly 44 per cent to the country’s annual farm shipments. Exports of rice rose by over 30 per cent in dollar terms and 25 per cent in rupee terms during April-September as European buyers built inventories in anticipation of tighter quality tests effective November 1. “European buyers built their inventories on fears a smaller quantity of rice would pass the quality tests.
Iran, too, purchased a huge quantity of rice, resulting in an increase in overall exports,” said Gurnam Arora, joint managing director, Kohinoor Foods.The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), in a communication to Apeda, said basmati rice from India needed to pass through a pre-shipment residue test for 22 pesticides from November 1. Apeda clarified that the minimum residue limit for propiconazole was under review. The value of basmati rice exports jumped to $2.13 billion in April-September from $1.63 billion in the same period a year ago. Exporters’ realisation rose to $997 a tonne from $789 a tonne last year. Rice exports were 2.13 million tonnes in April- September, up from 2.07 million tonnes in the same period of 2016. Guar gum also witnessed a sharp rise in exports from 163,958 tonnes ($180 million) in April-September 2016 to 252,568 tonnes ($317 million) in the comparable period this year. Increasing demand from shell gas companies for oil drills yielded 14 per cent higher realisation this year at $1,255 a tonne.