The Rajasthan government is examining the scope for increasing the export of agricultural commodities after strengthening agro-processing units amid the limited opportunities available during the COVID-19 pandemic. The State Agricultural Marketing Board will help the farmers in the export of cumin, oilseeds and isabgol.
Chief Secretary Rajeeva Swarup said here on Tuesday that the export promotion would help strengthen agricultural economy, which in turn would enhance productivity and employment. Attempts would be made to promote the outreach of ethnic food items, organic produce and value-added farm products in the international market, he said.
The mandi samitis in Nagaur, Jodhpur, Barmer, Pali, Jalore and Bikaner will shortly send proposals to the Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries for developing mini food parks under the agro-processing cluster scheme.
Mr. Swarup said at a meeting of the State-level agricultural export monitoring committee that the Board would connect the farmers and exporters directly with the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and the Spices Board through videoconferencing.
The State agro-processing, agri-business and agri-export promotion policy, released last year, encourages agricultural exports and seeks to increase farmers’ incomes. The policy has made a provision for a ₹500-crore fund in the Rajasthan State Cooperative Bank to disburse loans to farmers and allocated a grant of up to ₹20 lakh every year on the export of organic farm produces.
The policy also seeks to promote the capacity of agro-processing sector to upscale the operations through capital infusion, technology transfer and hand holding support. The State government has tried to accelerate capital investments in value and supply chain of agriculture and allied sectors while implementing the policy.
The officials of the Agriculture Department and representatives of APEDA threw light on the action taken under various schemes for promoting farm activities and identified the cereals, vegetables and fruits that could be processed and exported.