There were top five countries in the Middle East that contributed to around 20 percent of the exports of principal agricultural commodities from India between April and December 2020. UAE led the list along with Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and Egypt.
India’s agri-trade has been growing during 2020-21 despite the chaos created by the forced lockdown. The export of Agri and allied commodities registered an increase of 18.49% during April 2020 and Feb 2021. Two sectors that recorded significant growth are wheat and rice, with the country witnessing a growth of 727% for wheat export and 132% for non-basmati rice export during 2020-21.
The agricultural commodity market in India is estimated to reach ~US$ 60 billion by 2022. One of the main reasons for this growth is the strong demand from markets in the Middle East and China. India exports as much as 70 percent of its Agricultural commodities and allied products to countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, and the rest to Europe and America.
Middle Eastern countries such as UAE and Saudi Arabia have always been attractive markets for semi-processed as well as fresh food and agricultural commodities.
India and UAE are all set to tap the business potential in food processing & agriculture. According to policymakers, the market in the UAE can be a gateway for many companies in the Agri and food-processing sectors in India to make their products and services global. The agri-commodities market of 10 million consumers in the UAE can be a starting point for entry into the entire Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region.
Agri-Based Business: Key Agri Products Imported from India
In the financial year 2020, five countries from the middle east were responsible for around 70 percent of the total basmati rice imported from India. These countries were Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE, and Kuwait. UAE imported 208,518 MT of basmati rice in the FY20 valued at US$ 209.17 million.
In the financial year 2020, the five countries of the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Oman were responsible for around 95 percent of the total sheep/goat meat imports from India. Saudi Arabia imported 597 MT valued at US$ 3.93 million.
UAE was the largest importer of cashew from India in FY20. It imported cashew worth US$ 117.98 million from India.
UAE was the second-largest importer of dairy products from India in FY20, valued at US$ 40.87 million.
UAE was the third-largest importer of non-basmati rice from India in FY20, valued at US$ 130.92 million. It was also the third-largest importer of processed fruits & juices valued at US$ 59.52 million from India in the same year.
Agri-Commodities Business: Future Prospects
India and the UAE are all set to treble the volume of trade in the food and agri-tech sectors in the coming years, which was expressed by top officials at the UAE India Food Security Summit 2020, held in Dubai. India wants to work with the UAE as a reliable partner in food security, which was demonstrated by the movement of crucial cargo from India to the UAE during lockdown with India amending its Essentials Commodities Act.
India-UAE Agri-based business and trade relationships in the food sector are moving ahead with conviction to achieve the common goals of strengthening food security, setting up sustainable models for food production, achieving efficiencies in logistics, and reducing wastages of food. The vision is to promote collaborations in trade and investments in the food sector.