India exported a record 19.8 million tonnes of rice and wheat in the financial year 2021 on the back of attractive overseas prices of the commodities and extensive surplus production at home.
According to government data, rice and wheat witnessed exports of 19.81 million tonnes worth Rs 69,331.45 crore in 2020-21.
Record rice exports included 13.09 million tonnes non-basmati worth Rs 35,448.24 crore and 4.63 million tonnes of basmati worth Rs 29,849.40 crore.
The export of 2.09 million tonnes of wheat worth Rs 4,033.81 crore is also the highest in six financial years.
A major reason why exports saw a surge is that India gained access to new markets like Brazil, Chile, Timor-Leste, Puerto Rico and Papua New Guinea.
Exports were also made to Bangladesh, Malaysia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Senegal, Iraq, Vietnam, Togo, Tanzania Rep and Madagascar.
In 2020-21, 92 million tonnes of rice and wheat was allocated from the central pool.
That included 60.32 million tonnes under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and other regular welfare schemes, besides 31.52 million tonnes under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), Atmanirbhar Bharat Package (for returning migrant labourers) and other programmes launched in the wake of the Covid-19 induced lockdown.
Earlier, India’s overall export of essential agricultural commodities for the April 2020-February 2021 period had increased by 18.49% to Rs 2.74 lakh crore as compared with Rs 2.31 lakh crore in the same period last year.
The commodities that had posted significant positive growth in exports were wheat, soya meal, spices, sugar, raw cotton, non-basmati rice, fresh and processed vegetables and alcoholic beverages.