Farm and marine products exports to China and Italy may take a USD 245 million hit in March alone due to the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, says a report. Italy and China, the worst-affected by the virus pandemic, together account for close to 9 per cent of the country’s overall agriculture exports. China’s share is 7.7 per cent or worth USD 192 million.
Exports of marine items and farm products, excluding cotton, include spices, guargum, cereals which will be the worst-affected, and lost business opportunity is over USD 245 million, says the World Trade Centre.
During the first 10 months of FY2019-20, total agriculture exports declined 6.1 per cent to USD 27.87 billion but to China the shipments soared almost 86 per cent. Similarly, agri exports to Italy declined 6.2 per cent to USD 322 million.
“Farm exports to China grew a whopping 85.7 per cent in the first 10 months of FY20 to USD 2.13 billion from USD 1.14 billion y-o-y,” says the report.
The complete lockdown in China and Italy as a result of Covid-19 may affect our agriculture and allied exports (excluding cotton) worth USD 245 million in March alone, an analysis of the monthly export trend in the previous year shows.
Unfortunately, the virus outbreak comes at a time when farm item demand from the country was picking up in China. Agriculture exports to China grew a whopping 89 per cent to USD 1.49 billion in FY19 over the previous year.
During April-January FY20, farm exports have grown 85 per cent to USD 2.13 billion from the previous year. As a result, China’s share in our agriculture exports has grown considerably from 3.9 per cent last year to 7.7 per cent so far this fiscal.
The most affected sectors will be shrimps and prawns along with spices which together account for around 70 per cent of our farm exports to China. Other agri products that may be hit include processed guargum, cereals, groundnut and castor oils, jams and jellies, sugar etc.
From Italy, the worst-affected will be coffee, which contributes almost 50 per cent to the country’s exports to Italy, followed by marine products, basmati rice and vegetable oil.
The report also warns that overall farm goods exports are also set for decline to other countries in March because of cancellation of international flights and disruption in shipping activity.