The Government of India is focussing on creating mini food processing units across India, Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi today.
“There is a need to set up mini food processing units in large numbers as that would encourage farmers to produce high-quality farm output,” said Jyoti while inaugurating an ASSOCHAM FMCG Summit 2017.
She also urged the food processing industry to buy raw farm produce directly from the farmers is the only means to double their incomes besides that would also encourage them to come up with quality produce.
“If industry directly buys the farmers’ produce from them, it will get top-quality raw material for processing at a cheaper rate which will also help the farmers in realising their actual cost,” said the Minister.
“When the farmers will get to know that their produce is going to be sold in such (food processing sector) markets, they will automatically work upon producing high quality farm output,” she added.
Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti also assured the industry that she would take up all the concerns and demands of the food processing sector pertaining to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to the highest level.
She also appreciated the fact that youth across India is coming forward in large numbers to participate in the food processing industry.
Earlier, in his address at the ASSOCHAM Summit, Pawan Kumar Agarwal, chief executive officer of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) said that creating an ecosystem for safe foods rests on three pillars viz., responsible citizen, food businesses and the regulator.
“We have to go a long way in basically figuring out, educating our consumers and citizens as to what food is safe and how to have it, these are issues we are working on with lot of stakeholders to create demand for safe food,” said Agarwal.
“While our effort has been to provide a light-touch regulation in the food sector, we have worked relentlessly over the past three years to provide standards that are globally benchmarked and I am happy to share with you that most of food standards have either been released or are in final stages of being released,” said Agarwal.
Talking about the compliance of food standards, he said, “Ensuring compliance of these standards is an extremely weak area, we are aware of the problems in this space and particularly because though FSSAI Act expected uniform application of food law across the country, this is really not happening.”
He further said that going ahead FSSAI would focus on compliance of Food Safety Laws in letter and spirit.
“The expectation from food businesses is also that engagement with government and regulator is not only confined to pain points that food businesses have but engagement is more of a 360-degree approach where-in you work with the government and regulator to ensure that together we create a more robust and safe ecosystem for food sector in our country,” added the FSSAI chief.