By Rohit Vaid
New Delhi, June 6 (IANS) Covid dented exports can be revived by branding agri-products through geographical indicators, said Trade Promotion Council of India.
Accordingly, the trade and investment promotion organization believes that G Is which give products its distinct identity based on their native region of production is key to promote India’s agri exports.
Some notable GIs include California almonds, Chilean wines and Swiss chocolates, among others.
Lately, even the Centre’s focus is also geared towards ramping up agricultural processed items’ exports.
The recently announced ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ programme also focuses on promoting semi- and complete processed food industries in India.
In conversation with IANS, TPCI Chairman Mohit Singla said: “We need to focus on twin pillars of processed an d unprocessed food. When it comes on unprocessed food, we need to bank upon Spices and Fruits and Vegetables. We need to have Basmati like GI branding for spices if we want to be a significant global player.”
“Our Cardamom, Black pepper, Red Chilly, Ginger, etc. are most expen sive if we compare it with global prices. To merit a premium price, we need global branding of these products at international platforms, no one gives premium price without adequate branding. GI can be a game changer in this drive.”
At present, India has only about 368 GIs which is quite less compared to global average.
In terms of exports, $3.8 billion of Spices, $835 million of fresh food, $515 million of fresh vegetables, $290 million of processed vegetables and $380 million of processed fruits and juices were shipped-out in 2019-20.
According to Singla, these figures would grow exponentially with the help of GIs issued on every category of exports.
“Branding agri-products through GI will thrust especially for organically-produced commodities that would realise higher returns in global markets. Establishing effective agricultural brands can help farmers gain a competitive advantage in ‘buyer-driven’ global markets,”
“Some globally recognised brands enjoy a high stature in their respe ctive product groups. Branded items usually fetch better prices and can lead to brand loyalty, and are seen as a move towards a strong customer base.”
Furthermore, Singla said that although the current situation looks grim there could be a silver lining for the Indian agriculture exporters during this pandemic phase.
“Not only the EU, but US, China, Middle East are at relatively weaker positions due to Covid-19. There is an opportunity for India here to capture greater market share globally for agriculture commodities,”
To prove his point, he cited that European Union has eased rules for import of fresh fruit and vegetables from India.
“European Union has also done away with the requirement for a physical certificate assuring food safety, animal and plant health standards,” he said.
“Strategizing agri-exports in a requisite manner to meet the current requirement should be on our agenda.”
(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at [email protected])