Tuesday, July 17, 2018


APEDA to organise exclusive programme to boost exports from north-east
Monday, 02 October, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Shraddha Joshi, Mumbai
Foreign trade plays an important role in any country’s economy. Keeping that in focus, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) is planning to organise a promotion programme exclusively for food products from the north-eastern region to boost the exports to Bangladesh and Myanmar.

The said programme will be held in association with the embassies of India in Yangon, Myanmar, and Dhaka, Bangladesh, in the months of November and December respectively. The exact dates of the events will be communicated once they are received from the embassies.

U K Vats, general manager, APEDA, informed, “The north-eastern region of India, comprising eight states (namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim), has vast physiographical variations, which have been represented in six agro-climatic zones.”

“The region is physiographically characterised by difficult terrain, wide variations in slopes and altitudes and traditionally indigenous cultivation practices. The north-eastern region is one of the richest reservoirs of genetic variability and diversity of different crops, i e various kinds of fruits , different vegetables, spices, ornamental plants and also medicinal and aromatic plants,” he added.

Demographic advantage
“Marked by low usage of agrochemicals – the region is by default organic. Unlike the rest of India, North-east India has an added demographic advantage, in the sense that more than 98 per cent international border sharing with Bhutan, Nepal, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar provides the region a unique geographical advantage with respect to exports,” Vats said.

“The region’s long international border of more than 4,500km in length can be a great advantage and has the potential to transform the region into an economic hub. However, those competitive advantages are not yet fully tapped and remain either unutilised or underutilised,” he added.

As per the notice issued by APEDA, the strategic location of the north-eastern region makes it a potential hub for the export of horticultural produce, as it shares international boundaries  with China, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh.

R K Mondal, deputy general manager, APEDA, Kolkata, informed, “As of now, the programme is in its very initial stage. For the first time in the history of APEDA, we are organising an exclusive  programme in Myanmar.”

“Having similar climatic conditions and production of food commodities in both the regions, it will be great advantages to the exporters here. Therefore, through this programme, we will try to create and establish new market for the northeastern exporters,” he added.

“Indian exports to Myanmar are worth only Rs 200 crore, and it is increasing at about 20-30 per cent annually. For instance, it was worth Rs 81 crore in 2014-15, increased to Rs 100 crore in 2015–16 and in 2016-17 it is about Rs 162 crore, so it is growing at a steady pace,” Mondal said.

“We are looking forward to enter the market for various commodities like buffalo meat, cereals and various fruits like fresh grapes and pomegranates, which is a big market to tap into,” he added.

The export of APEDA-scheduled products to Myanmar during 2016-17 was to the tune of $24.15 million. The major products exported to the country are jaggery and confectionery, maize, groundnut, milled products, cereal  preparations, miscellaneous preparations, fruit and vegetable seeds, other  processed  fruits and vegetables, poultry products, alcoholic beverages, floriculture, non-basmati rice, basmati rice, etc.

The notice added, “Bangladesh’s strategic connectivity to India's north-east region help to get easy access as well as to promote the export of Indian products to Bangladesh.”

The export of APEDA-scheduled products to Bangladesh during 2016-17 was to the tune of $396.44 million. The major products exported to Bangladesh are basmati rice, non-basmati rice, other cereals, fresh onions, other fresh vegetables, wheat, maize, cereal preparations, miscellaneous preparations, dairy products, fresh grapes, fresh mangoes, other fresh fruits, pulses, groundnuts, cocoa products, natural honey, jaggery and confectionery, dried and preserved vegetables, alcoholic beverages, floriculture, mango pulp, milled products, guar gum, etc.

Sunita Rai, assistant general manager, APEDA Guwahati, said, “We will be organising the programme in Dhaka and Sylhet. We believe the it will provide the exporters of the north eastern region a great potential to export fresh products to Bangladesh.”

“APEDA for the first time have exclusively focus on the north-eastern region and planned out the programme. For the next financial year, we may might go for Bhutan,” she added.

“We expect exporters not only from the north-eastern region, but also from other cities like Bengaluru and Hyderabad, to take active part and open up to the new market opportunity,” Rai said.

“For Bangladesh, we are especially looking for fish and vegetable products and also to promote processed food like basmati rice, buffalo meat and others,” she added.

Vats said, “The north-eastern region of our country shares a 1,880km-long international border with Bangladesh. India’s export of the products monitored by APEDA during financial year 2015-16 was to the tune of $436.22 million.”

“There are about seven or eight active land custom station exist in the north-eastern region through which exports to Bangladesh are taking place,” he added.

“There is a preference for north-eastern products like ginger, citrus fruits like oranges, Hatkora and other fruits grown in the north-eastern region, which are exported to Sylhet, Bangladesh. The present event is an attempt to promote north-eastern products in other parts of Bangladesh,” Vats said.

He added, “Myanmar represents a rapidly growing economy with rising consumption, strategic location and access, rich natural resources, biodiversity and an industrious workforce with low wages and offers significant opportunities for trade in goods and services, investment and project export.”

Export of APEDA-scheduled products to Myanmar in 2015-16 was to the tune of $16.3 Million. The north-east shares a 1,643km-long international border with Myanmar.

Logistical proximity makes export feasible and can give a fillip to export of Indian food products from the north-eastern region to Myanmar, as well as to the markets of the Association of South-east Asian Nations (asean) via Myanmar, due to the Act East policy of the government of India.
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