Every year farmers throw a big quantity of the tomatoes in their field as they do not get remunerative prices. On the other hand, many food companies are importing the same tomatoes for processing. Some companies are totally dependent on tomato imports. It shows the huge gap between the farmers and food processing industry. The industry must bridge the gap. This was highlighted by JP Meena, Special Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries.
Meena added that the government was going to put and evolve policies and schemes that would promote food processing industries so much as also to bring down agri wastages by 50 per cent in next 5-6 years from currently estimated annual losses of Rs 100,000 crore.
To overcome such issues and to push the growth story of food processing sector, the Government is going to organise a mega event, Food India 2017 in November 2017, Meena informed.
The senior bureaucrat was addressing the 4th International Conference & Exhibition – India Farm 2 Fork 2016 organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi on Wednesday.
He further said that the GST regime is unlikely to adversely affect this sector with higher taxation slabs as the available indications suggests that it would continue to be taxed at existing rates even post GST.
Meena stressed that the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) is insisting on with the Ministry of Finance that this sector should be subjected to minimum taxation even post GST for its further growth as also to ensure that investments in it continue to be attractive so that linkages between agri-producer and manufacturers are established in a manner that lead to production of quality products with reasonable prices.
“With the pro-active policies of the government and its commitment to further improve upon them, the average level of FDIs into food processing sector in the last three years has been to an extent of US$ 500 million per annum”, said Meena added.
According to him, the mega food parks that have been coming up across the country in 42 locations are the major source of FDIs into food processing sector in which sufficient and adequate infrastructure to set up processing units is available though government will further improve on such an infrastructure.
“The Government is aware that the food processing sector is creating wealth and employment, thereby contributing important role in India’s gross domestic products (GDP). Thus, the Government is taking a number of initiatives to prompt the growth story. Some of the mega food parks are really a success story. Baba Ramdev’s Government aided food park has shown the way to the sector,” Meena said.
Meena urged the industry to improve their quality of processing to let India excel even on exports front as the government has already asked the food regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to streamline its safety standards and align them with CODEX norms so that India’s quality of food processing products become unquestionable.
“Whereas FSSAI has streamlined several of its safety standards, it is also in the process of further introducing new norms so that quality products come out from food processing units that could be of global standards and also facilitate India’s exports on this front”, Meena further added.