Food processing is the answer to agrarian woes: Union Minister

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Union Minister

‘No one can ignore India, our industry is poised for high growth’, she says

For a country which is the the second highest producer of fruits and vegetables and the sixth largest consumer, and yet faces agrarian crises, the food processing industry is the best answer. The sector is estimated to garner a 70% share growth in food economy, from the current $600 billion to $1.3 trillion in the next few years, said Union Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal here on Thursday.

“Just 10% of our food produce is being processed. If countries like Thailand and Malaysia are processing 70% of their produce, why can’t we? With our recently released policy of ‘Kisan Sampada Yojana’ and a corpus fund of ₹6000 crore, we are hoping to raise food processing output by another 5% including incentives,” she said, at the roadshow on ‘World Food India-2017’ organised by the Ministry in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

International event

‘World Food India – 2017’ would be organised at New Delhi between November 3 and 5 and inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It would have countries, States, organisations, industry and others showcasing their respective products, processes, technologies etc., to facilitate collaborations and investment opportunities.

Urging TS government to participate in the mega event, Mrs. Kaur hailed the policies initiated here and said promoting food processing would not only save wastage of food but would also help farmers, consumers and the country as a whole with more income, employment, quality food and help price control as well as reduce wastage.

“No one can ignore India. Our industry is poised for high growth because of our young population. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has increased by 40% within a year and this year investments were worth US$183 million,” she said.

Willing to host

TS Industries Minister K.T. Rama Rao urged her to make the event an annual feature and offered to host it in Hyderabad since it was the centre for poultry, seeds besides producing good variety of fruits and vegetables. Thanking the Centre for allocating four food parks, he said that the one at Buggapadu (near Khammam) was expected to go on stream within a year. With NABARD’s help of ₹1,042 crore, storage space is being increased to 21 lakh metric tonnes from four lakh MT.

Earlier, Joint secretary, MoFPI, Anuradha Prasad in her presentation said that the grants up to 35% cost (₹3-50 crore) would be given for proposals for new units, expansion, training, linkages, R&D, STPs, etc., including storage, chilling plants, retail, packing, transport, milling and so on. Under Kisan Sampada Yojana, ₹6,000 crore is to be spent by 2019-20 giving thrust to the sector. Soon, a model food processing policy is to be unveiled which can be adopted by the States. CII National Council member and CMD of Rasna Piruz Khambatta and CII (TS) chairman and vice president of TCS V. Rajanna also spoke.

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