New Delhi (Agencies): Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar on Sunday said that India's exports will be "seriously jeopardised" unless the government addressed infrastructural bottlenecks of exporters in the next five years.

Speaking on Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority's award function here, he said problems like transportation and freight costs and poor handling capacities may adversely impact India's exports.

"...what we are going to do in infrastructure over the next five years, because if we don't attend to those problems in the next five years, forget agricultural exports, our entire export effort is going to be seriously jeopardised," Khullar said.

According to the Commerce Ministry, the average cost to move a container within India is USD 945, more than double of China's USD 460, Malaysia's USD 450 and Vietnam's USD 625.

Also, the average freight revenue per-tonne kilometre is USD 395 in India, compared to USD 185 in China, USD 281 in South Africa and USD 100 in the US.

He said while other problems also plague the agricultural exporters, but those are in the nature of generic constraints to all exporters.

Recently, the government has announced few steps to reduce transactions cost of exports. On an average, the quantum of transaction cost is about 7-10 per cent of total value of Indian exports, which amounts to USD 15 billion annually.

Commenting on the problems that agricultural exporters may face in the coming years, the secretary said that non-trade barriers like sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) measures and traceability issues could impact agri exports.

"As tariffs come down or traditional barriers like taxes on trade are dismantled, you are going to find non-tariff barriers in the form of either SPS measures which will block the access...the second issue which you are going to face is traceability," he said.

SPS measures are used for food safety in terms of animal and plant health. Traceability is the ability to trace the history, application, or location of any entity by means of recorded identifications.

Last year, European authorities had rejected grapes consignments from India over the issues of traceability of a chemical used to preserve the fruit.

He said that traceability is also going to become another means to bloc access of Indian agri products into the international market.

Khullar said that agricultural exporters should now start thinking moving up to the value chain and not become only providers of agricultural produce. He said Indian agri products will have to move up the value chain in order to achieve target of USD 15 billion in the next three years.