How profitable is Import and Export business in India?

Profit is the lifeline of any business, and business is the lifeline of any economy. And in this age of startups blooming across the world, if we were to diligently evaluate and consider starting a business that is profitable in all seasons, allows healthy profit margins, and is also naturally scalable, we would undoubtedly talk about Exports. Yes, export-import is a profitable business in India because every country doesn’t produce everything and hence depends on other countries for some or other thing. And this factor of interdependence is perennial and constant, meaning there will always be an opportunity for exports and imports business to thrive. And as long as this trade setup remains in place, an entrepreneur will always be ready with a gold pan to extract the modern-day gold: US Dollars.

Export and Import Scenario In India

In India, the picture of international trade is pretty luminous. According to the official data released by the Ministry of Commerce, India, the country exported a total of USD 335.44 Billion worth of merchandise products in the year 2021-22 and imported USD 495.83 Billion worth of products in the same year. When we convert that growth into percentage terms and compare it to the percentage growth of 2020-21, the figures reveal that the exports grew by a whopping 46.53% and imports by 22.3%. And This upward-moving chart is a good indication of what is yet in store for Indian export and import businesses as the government mulls over introducing export-friendly schemes such as the One District One Product scheme.  

Of course, the above numbers do not represent any single category. They include the trade of petroleum products, capital goods, gems and jewelry, and pharma products. But when we dive down even deeper into this promising sector of exports and imports, the agriculture sector, specifically the export business of vegetables, has its own substantial share overall, if not the lion’s share.   

Vegetable Exports Business: A Promising Trade Sector

Today, in this age where discussions around sustainability and environmental protection are soaring like never before, if we are to talk about a scalable business that doesn’t upset environmental activists or pro-environment policies of the government, we ought to talk about the export and import business of vegetables, fruits and flowers. The profit margins are good in India, there is never going to be a limitation on supply, and the capital requirement is low compared to other sectors. And when we consider all these factors in combination with an able hand at the helm of the business, Agri export and import business can be termed the most profitable business in India.

And we have data coming straight from APEDA to back these statements up. In 2021-22 alone, India exported fresh fruits and vegetables worth nearly 1,527.60 USD Millions, in which fruits shared sales worth 750.7 USD Millions and vegetables worth 767.01 USD Millions. These exports include the sales of all kinds of Cereal, Pulses, processed and unprocessed vegetables, and fruits. With the never-before-seen advancement in quality measures and intelligent farming, India’s vegetable export business is all set to witness a boom soon, and more so as the world’s population hits 800 Billion. And the buck does not stop there: These exports bring home US Dollars in payments, which not just render exchange rate gains to exporters but also boost the foreign exchange reserve of India. 

Here are the top few vegetables and fruits that saw a peak in demand in the past few

years and their export weightage and sales numbers for the year 2021-22:

  1. Onion: 

Weight: 1,537,496.89 MT

Sales: 460.52 USD Millions

  1. Walnuts: 

Weight: 2,482.59 MT

Sales: 9.88 USD Millions

  1. Mangoes: 

Weight:27,872.78 MT

Sales: 44.05 USD Millions

  1. Grapes: 

Weight: 263,075.67 MT

Sales: 305.66 USD Millions

  1. Other Fresh Fruits:

Weight: 761,031.20 MT

Sales: 388.42 USD Millions

What Do Profit Margins Look Like In Vegetable Export Business

With the ever-growing population and new advances in the Agri industry, like farming through drones and hydroponics, exports and imports of agricultural products will undoubtedly stand as the most profitable business with huge margins in the near future. 

And as for the current profit margins in the vegetable export and import business, it depends on the kind of product one is dealing in. For instance, exporting onions will only prove profitable if one trades all year round, and vegetable products as unimaginable as Moringo and Okra could provide the space for a whopping 50% profit margin. Vegetable exports and imports work and behave based on the commodity market, and hence the risk of loss can never be ruled out completely, and one should do his due diligence before rolling his sleeves up.  

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