September 22, 2016
The Government has set a target of doubling food processing levels in the country to 20% by 2019. Union Minister for Food Processing, Ms. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who was in Mumbai on Thursday, to inaugurate the Annapoorna : World of Food 2016 International Expo & Conference, said the “food processing industry is a sunrise sector ready for exponential growth”. She said despite all odds, the food processing sector has been able to register a 7.6 per cent growth, much higher than the agricultural and manufacturing sector growth.
The Minister however lamented that despite India being one of the largest food producing countries, the level of processing is a paltry 10%, while it is 70-80% in some of the South East Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. “We have drawn up plans to double the level of processing from 10% to 20% by the time the 5 year term of the government is over”, she said.
Ms. Badal said her ministry is facilitating ease of doing business and creating investor friendly policies and schemes to give a boost to the sector. She said the government’s decision to permit 100 per cent FDI in trading, including through e-commerce, in respect of food products manufactured or produced in India is expected to provide a major impetus to investments, employment and job creation in the food processing sector.
The Minister also informed that a Rs 2,000 crore corpus has been created to disperse cheap credit through NABARD for the food processing sector and several tax and duty concessions are being extended to food processing industries in 42 Mega Food Parks planned across the country.
Ms. Badal said that her recent trip to the UK has been successful and lot of international retail and food processing companies have evinced interest to enter India through joint venture with Indian companies.
World Food Summit 2017
The Food Processing Minister announced that the government is planning to hold the World Food Summit in New Delhi in March 2017. “With this summit, we intend to invite retailers, manufacturers, logistics to the progressive farmers and the entire gamut which is in the food industry. The byline is going to be transforming the India’s food economy.” The Government plans to call different countries to participate in the summit, where every state in India will showcase what all they have to offer in terms of infrastructure, investment opportunities and policy support.
Ms. Badal also said that the Indian food was becoming very popular abroad. “Foreigners have taken a liking for Indian food the way we have adopted to Pizzas and Pastas. Indian food has moved ahead of chicken curry and tikka to include a wide range of offerings.
The Minister also stressed on reducing food wastage by popularizing food processing. She said farmers toil very hard to grow their produce but are often forced to resort to distress selling and settling for paltry income. “While food wastage in the Western countries is on the plate, in India it is at the farm, storage and transportation levels. A better food processing infrastructure will address the issue of wastage and also help control inflation” Ms. Badal remarked.
The “Annapoorna : World of Food 2016” is a flagship event of the food processing industry in Mumbai bringing together different stake holders . More than 600 exhibitors from 18 countries are participating in the 2016 event. The Expo will be on till September 24 at the Bombay Exhibition & Convention Centre, Goregaon. Mumbai.