IIFT & TPCI launch Certificate Programme in Agri Import & export management

The Certificate Program in Agri Import & Export Management is being offered by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in collaboration with the Trade Promotion Council of India for the benefit of current and budding agri entrepreneurs and managers, in the spirit of visionary government initiatives like the Agri Export Policy and Aatmanirbhar Bharat.


Agriculture has been a mainstay of the Indian economy across recorded history, and a major driver of its economic resilience. The country has a large and diverse agricultural production base, and is among the world’s leading producers of cereals, milk, sugar, fruits and vegetables, spices, eggs and seafood products.

However, India is performing well below its potential in exports of agri products. Its share in global exports of agricultural products stood at 2.5% in 2020, and even lower at 1.4% for processed food products. In recognition of this fact, the government announced the Agriculture Export Policy to double agriculture exports to US$ 60 billion by 2022, also serving to improve farmers’ incomes.

Some of the critical interventions identified by this policy are diversification of export basket & markets; boosting high value & value added agricultural exports; promoting novel, indigenous, organic, ethnic, traditional and non-traditional agri products exports; institutional mechanisms for pursuing market access, tackling tariff & non-tariff barriers and integrating with global value chains.

Increasing globalization and liberalization of the world economy have led to a rapid rise in the overall volumes of agricultural trade. Enhanced participation of economies in agricultural global value chains has facilitated this growth, leading to increasing interconnectedness among economies.

However, this has also led to trade uncertainties, wherein any political or economic change in one country; has a trickle-down impact across economies. This has been witnessed with events like US-China trade war, Japan-South Korea trade war and Brexit. The recent COVID-19 pandemic represents another such episode, bringing in unprecedented disruption to global economy and trade.

Agri exports: From crisis to progress

The COVID-19 times, while they brought unprecedented disruption, also served to illustrate India’s undeniable intrinsic strengths as an agricultural powerhouse. Despite the pandemic, the country’s agricultural exports increased by 17.34% YoY to reach US$ 41.25 billion in 2020-21. Notably, exports have begun to take place from several clusters for the first time, and several states have made plans to implement the agri export policy. CATR’s research and industry interaction reveals the following major sub-segments with promising prospects of exports:

  1. Ready to Eat Packed Food
  2. Organic Foods (organic fruits & vegetables)
  3. Nutraceuticals
  4. Infant food products/prepared baby food
  5. Processed Dairy products
  6. Processed fish & marine products
  7. Alcoholic Beverages (Wines/Whiskey/Beer)
  8. Snacks & Confectionery

We also see the need to consume healthier food has emerged during the period of the pandemic. There is a growing market with the tendency to consume foodstuffs with a reduced salt, calorie, and sugar content. This could be beneficial for exports of fruits and vegetables, green tea, spices and Ayurvedic supplements in the coming years.

India’s exports of processed food to world in 2020 were recorded at US$ 12.65 billion, surging from US$ 11.48 billion in 2019. Its growth rate of exports for processed food at 8.03% remained significantly higher than world’s average growth rate of 0.65% for past three years, and we are still only touching the tip of the iceberg.

Presently, India‘s share of high value and value-added agricultural produce within the export basket stands at less than 15%. However, India has a strategic geographical location, which gives it an add-on advantage when it comes to exports. The country has convenient connectivity to Europe, Middle East and Africa from the western coast, and Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, Australia and New Zealand from the eastern coast.

The country already exports agricultural/horticultural products and processed foods to more than 100 countries/regions inclluding the Middle East, Southeast Asia, SAARC countries, the European Union (EU) and the US. It is well placed to capitalise on these emerging trends and evolve as the hub for the global agri and food processing sector.

However, there is still a lot of dependence on traditional markets of US, EU and Japan etc, which exemplifies the need to diversify to emerging economies including LAC, Africa, ASEAN & South Korea. Exporters need to carefully assess market trends and appropriately adapt/innovate their product offerings. Moreover, Indian companies need to evolve their product and service offerings in line with international standards and expectations in order to emerge as global brands.

Of course, India needs to work very hard on some other critical areas on a holistic basis to scale up its international footprint. These include testing and certification infrastructure, signing FTAs with key partners, safety and hygiene norms, investing in digitalized supply chain, smart warehousing and logistics, cold storage capacity, and other advanced food processing technologies.

At the same time, exporters need to be well aware of the issues and challenges specific to agri  trade, and how they need to be effectively addressed while minimising downside risks. Given the continued volatilities in global trade; the need and appreciation for a skill set towards managing resilient and dynamic global agri businesses successfully is assiduously growing.

The Certificate Program in Agri Import/Export Management is being offered by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in collaboration with the Trade Promotion Council of India for current and budding agri entrepreneurs and managers, in the spirit of visionary government initiatives like the Agri Export Policy and Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

Following are the main modules covered by this programme:

      The primary objective of the program is to build knowledge on the key aspects of export/import management, knowhow on international business; market and buyer identification, especially as per post-COVID shifts of consumer behavior; changing stringency of import regulations; new foreign trade policy; changing domestic regulatory framework on farm bills and its impact on exports; and tools for enhancing price competitiveness toward surviving in business in light of limited and reduced global demand. Both startup companies as well as established firms are looking forward to managers having an in-depth understanding of doing business across various global markets, thus enabling these companies to develop customized business plans and market entry strategies.
      This course will discuss international product decision and product adaptation, entry mode in foreign markets, choosing appropriate marketing channels, export pricing methods, promotion for global reach, social media/digital marketing and finally establishing your own brand.
      This course will deliberate on domestic agricultural policies, in the context of evolving law(s), both at central and state levels for key exportable crops from India. It further discusses export incentives, duty neutralization, and capacity building schemes, as enshrined in the Foreign Trade Policy of India. The course discusses in detail, the process and procedure of availing all export import benefits/ authorizations.
      This course would discuss step by step process of getting started in Export-Import via clear understanding of export-import documentation, drafting an export sales contract, negotiating suitable INCO Terms and finally getting tuned to operational issues in international business. It would also cover the procedure for clearance of export-import cargo, duty assessment and payment of import cargo, export clearance and incentive assessment.
      This course would discuss the customs clearance of goods, especially issues that agri exporters have to face at multiple levels of export and import operations. It will further explain the issues of logistics of agricultural products from origin to destination, covering elements such as containerization, palletization, unitization, packing, labelling, marking, choice of modal transport, multimodal transport, risks involved in logistics and role of logistics intermediaries.
      This session would discuss how to organize for pre-shipment and post shipment finance, methods of payments (L/C,UCP), instruments of trade finance, currency risk management and FEMA Guidelines.
      Get unparalleled hands-on exposure to how top Indian agri exporters are expanding their footprint and building international brands. Industry leaders from diverse product segments will share their experiences on how they grew their international business, identified opportunities, interfaced with relevant buyers, overcame challenges, etc. They will also share practical insights on current trends and strategies to build a successful export venture.

Overall, the course would equip participants with comprehensive knowledge and skills on various aspects of international agri business, identifying product-market potential, availing of trade finance, understanding trade policies and dealing with global economic volatilities, with a special focus on the post-COVID paradigm.

At a time when India is well poised with stakeholder interventions and active government support to take its rightful place in agricultural trade, this course aims to play a catalytic role in developing the Indian agri-entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

To know more and apply for the Certificate Program in Agri Import/Export Management being offered by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in association with the Trade Promotion Council of India, click tpci.in/agritradeprogramme. You may also contact admin2@tpci.in for further assistance.

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