India exports Rs 550 crore dairy items during Covid-19, Ghee tops list

December 21, 2020
Rohan Dua | TNN

NEW DELHI — During the Covid-19 pandemic, with all its constraints, India has managed to export dairy products worth Rs 554 crore to more than 110 countries so far.

A report by the Agricultural & Processed Food Exports Development Authority (APEDA), the apex body for trade promotion, prepared last week found that the UAE remains the biggest market for Indian dairy products.

This year, so far, orders worth Rs 154 crore were placed by the UAE alone. The US came next (Rs 110 crore), followed by Bhutan (Rs 78 crore), Singapore (Rs 53 crore), Saudi Arabia (Rs 39 crore) and Australia (Rs 37 crore).

Last financial year, India had exported dairy products worth Rs 1,341 crore, significantly lower than the Rs 2,423 crore the year before that.

So, while this year’s figures have been less than half so far, the pandemic effect and the fact that there still are four months to go have been seen as positive indicators.

Milk production from Uttar Pradesh (30 MT), Rajasthan (23 MT), Andhra Pradesh (15 MT) and Gujarat (14 MT) have largely contributed to these exports.

Over four years, India’s dairy exports have overall touched Rs 5,500 crore trade. The top export in that period has been ghee (Rs 1,521 crore). The UAE has imported ghee worth Rs 74 crore this year so far.

“One of the reasons ghee is so popular is the presence of the Indian expat community in the Middle East,” Union minister of state for animal husbandry and dairy Sanjeev Balyan told TOI.

Butter has also been a big export over the past four years (Rs 1,486 crore), followed by farm cheese (Rs 435 crore) and milk cream (Rs 230 crore). There’s also been a small market for buttermilk (Rs 20 crore). Whole milk carton export has been worth just Rs 0.5 lakh.

“As far as the low export and trade of packed milk food supplements and powdered milk is concerned, India has a lot of catching up to do. Other countries already have big international players which make cheaper products for the retail market,” Balyan said.

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