New Delhi: Despite economic turbulence due to Covid-19, India's overall food exports since March have increased 27 per cent.
According to the Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI), the average growth of 27 per cent during the lockdown and the unlock period came on the back of high demand for food-based items.
"The food sector has shown 27 per cent growth. The major markets that have responded well are the US and Canada," TPCI Chairman Mohit Singla said at the Indo-Canadian virtual "buyer-seller meet (BSM) on food & beverages."
He said exports in June against year-ago month had declined by only 4 per cent.
"We exported almost Rs 166,000 crore merchandise. It shows the Indian market has bounced back and the international market is responding well to Indian exports," he said.
Recently, official data showed India emerged as a net exporter in June. The country recorded $0.79 billion trade surplus in June against $15.28 billion deficit during the same period of 2019.
On the Indo-Canadian food trade, Singla said, "Canada can be an important market for the Indian F&B industry as it has a large population (approx 2.4 million) of Indian diaspora. Outreach to the mainstream market is the biggest challenge for the Indian F&B industry."
With the support of fellow buyers and the High Commission we would be able to perform better, he added.
India's High Commissioner to Canada Ajay Bisaria said, "The Mission was part of a number of business conferences, but it's the first virtual BSM during the lockdown. It's a positive sign that we are looking beyond the pandemic to go into a recovery phase for business."
The demand for India's ethnic and organic products was rising, he added.
"Canada is projecting the worst economic contraction since the Great Depression of about 6.8 per cent in 2020 instead of 8 per cent or so projected by the IMF for Canada," he said and hoped, all economies, including India and Canada, would have a 'V' shaped rather than 'W' or 'U' shaped recovery."
He said the strategic India-Canada economic partnership was moving to the next level in business and political terms and often the business led the political side.
"The merchandise trade has risen 24 per cent during the pandemic. The investment from Canada to India has grown from $5 billion to $60 billion in the last 5-6 years," he said.
Integration of Canada due to its partnership (North American Free Trade Agreement and United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement) might be seen as part of the North-America market, he said.
"We are working on trade agreements and having a conversation on investment protection agreement. There is a strong inflow of immigrants and students from India to Canada. India is investing in human capital in Canada and Canada is exporting financial capital to India," Bisaria said.