Union Minister for Food Processing Industries, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, has announced setting up of a special task force with the key representatives from all northern states, her ministry and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) with the aim to prepare a roadmap for the states, strengthen farm – market linkages and leverage the true potential of the sector, while addressing the Conference on driving Make in India in Food Processing, organised by CII in New Delhi.
“The task force would analyse the various impediments and bottlenecks existing and provide expert directions and guidance on key policy interventions to not just the states but also on issues where my ministry can help. I would even create a special committee within my ministry, with the representatives of CII and the respective state heads in this task force as the members, in order to resolve the issues and help the food processing industry realise its desired potential”, the minister added.
“Food processing industry has the potential to enhance the earnings of the farmers, but it lacks key infrastructure like cold chains and efficient logistics management systems. Today, there is a shortage of 29 lakh Metric Tonne (MT) of cold storage in India. Hence, we have planned to set up 138 new cold chain plants to tackle this shortage in the next four years. This would also provide employment to one million people”, she informed.
“Cluster approach is the key to rapid success in this sector. Hence, we have recently sanctioned 17 new Mega Food Parks (MFPs) and 42 more are in the pipeline with an estimated direct and indirect investment of Rs 10,000 crore. We have also allocated Rs 2000 crore to NABARD to give cheaper credit and encourage more and more mega food parks and quality circle clusters of food processing units at district level, which is attracting a lot of small and medium industry players”, added the Minister.
Piruz Khambatta, Co-Chairman, CII National Committee on Food Processing and Dairy and Chairman & Managing Director, Rasna Private Limited mentioned that “CII believes that there is a need to launch a massive campaign called Food from India as India can not only feed the country but can also feed the whole world. The campaign should showcase the potential and benefits of food processing sector for consumers as well as nation. For India to achieve its desired position in food processing, there is a need for Massive market access fund, Income tax deduction for market development as well as superior infrastructure and IT system to hasten exports. Further, ease of doing business in the true sense on regulatory issues is not a choice any more. The government, institutes and industry need to collaborate and put huge emphasis on quality with voluntary compliance to Indian and International Standards.
Rajesh Srivastava, Chairman, CII NR Committee on Agriculture & Food and CMD, Rabo Equity Advisors said, “Considering India’s strong production base as well as huge consumption market, CII believes that this sector has an incredible capital and technology investment opportunity. The potential task force should primarily shortlist key product segments with specific growth opportunity based on production strengths and competitive advantages. It should also push the state governments to amend their food processing policies or provide separate schemes and incentives to encourage the ‘Make-in-India’ initiative in food processing sector”