India’s Ambitious Goal: $1 Billion in Banana Exports Over Next 5 Years

India is setting its sights high in the agricultural export sector with a bold goal to increase its banana exports to USD 1 billion over the next five years. This ambitious target comes on the heels of a successful trial shipment of fresh bananas to the Netherlands, utilizing a sea route for transportation. This initiative marks a significant shift from the traditional air route, which was previously preferred due to lower volumes and varied ripening periods of different fruits.

The key to achieving this goal lies in the development of specialized sea protocols for fresh fruits and vegetables, including bananas, mangoes, pomegranates, and jackfruit. These protocols are designed to understand and manage various factors like voyage time, the scientific aspects of ripening, optimal harvesting times, and farmer training. This initiative is being spearheaded by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), an arm of the Commerce Ministry in India.

Despite being the largest banana producer in the world, contributing to 26.45% of global banana production with 35.36 million metric tonnes, India’s share in the global export market is currently only 1%. In the fiscal year 2022-23, India’s banana exports were valued at USD 176 million, equivalent to 0.36 million metric tonnes. The major banana-producing states in India are Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh. Together, these states account for about 67% of India’s total banana production.

The increase in banana exports is not just an economic goal but also a means to improve the livelihoods of farmers. It’s estimated that achieving this export target could increase the income of more than 25,000 farmers, directly create over 10,000 jobs in the supply chain, and indirectly provide employment for over 50,000 people on farms. This effort is seen as a significant step in rural development and poverty alleviation.

The major export destinations for Indian bananas currently include countries in the Middle East, with Iran, Iraq, UAE, Oman, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Afghanistan, and the Maldives being significant markets. However, there is also potential for expanding into major global markets like the USA, Russia, Japan, Germany, China, the Netherlands, the UK, and France.

Overall, this ambitious export goal is a part of India’s broader strategy to boost its agricultural exports, with a special focus on natural, organic, and Geographically Indicated (GI) tagged agro-products. This initiative is supported by various government efforts and incentives, including organizing B2B exhibitions in different countries, exploring new potential markets, and developing export-friendly policies.



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