By Saurabh Katkurwar
New Delhi, Jan 27 - Exports of fresh fruits and vegetables have slumped by 15% in terms of revenue during April-November 2017, apart from a substantial dip in the export of pulses and wheat.
Low demand and supply of onions, tomatoes, bananas and raisins to the top exporting markets was the major contributing factor, said Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
During the period, the value of fresh fruits and vegetables was Rs 5,416 crore (more than $845 million), a drop of 15% when compared to the corresponding period in 2016.
The increase in the Minimum Export Price (MEP) of onions to $850 per tonne in the wake of low production has led to the decline in the export, APEDA Chairman D.K. Singh said.
"The share of onions is about 50% of total exports of fresh vegetables. The MEP of onion has led to the fall in its export," Singh said.
The central government had notified the higher MEP of onions last November to ensure their domestic availability and to discourage cheap exports.
Overall, in terms of volume, vegetable exports declined to 1.60 million tonnes during April-November 2017 from 2.28 million tonnes during the same period in the previous year.
The UAE accounted for 18.3% of the vegetables exports from India and 27.5% of fruits during April-November 2017.
Bangladesh stood second with 12.2% share while Malaysia came third with 11.8%.
Similarly, fruit exports reduced to 368,361 tonnes from 447,612 tonnes in 2016.
The UAE, Bangladesh, Nepal and the US are among the top export countries for India. The UAE has been identified as a major market for Indian fruits and vegetables, followed by Nepal, Bangladesh and Malaysia.
"This year, demand for our vegetables and fruits from Nepal and Bangladesh has gone down. It is also a major reason (for the dip)," Singh said.
Interestingly, exports of processed vegetables and fruits have shown a slight increase in the April-November period of 2017.
Total output of vegetables in 2017-18 is expected to be 180.68 million tonnes as compared to 178.17 million tonnes in 2016-17.
Similarly, production of fruits is estimated to be 94.88 million tonnes as compared to 92.92 million tonnes in 2016-17.
As for pulses and wheat, their export has declined to 87,760 tonnes and 179,699 tonnes , respectively, in April-November 2017 from 91,652 tonnes and 218,494 tonnes a year ago.
The exports of non-Basmati varieties of rice, on the other hand, have increased to 5.57 million tonnes in the period under review from 4.11 million tonnes in the previous year.