NEW DELHI: India’s sunrise food processing sector has attracted Rs 50,000 crore FDI in the last nine years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday, as he stressed on reducing post-harvest losses and food wastage.
He also said India’s food processing capacity has witnessed significant growth in the last nine years leading to 150 per cent growth in exports of processed food. The capacity of the food processing sector too has increased from a meagre 12 lakh tonne to over 200 lakh tonne.
He also spoke on benefits of consumption of millets, and pitched for diversification of the food basket in the public distribution system.
Modi was addressing the second edition of World Food India at Bharat Mandapam in the national capital. The three-day event will conclude on November 5.
More than 80 countries, 200 speakers and 12 partner ministries, departments and commodity boards are scheduled to take part in the event.
The prime minister disbursed seed capital assistance to over one lakh Self Help Groups (SHGs) and inaugurated a ‘food street’ as part of ‘World Food India 2023′.
The event aims to showcase India as ‘food basket of the world’ and celebrate 2023 as International Year of Millets. The first edition was held in 2017, but in consecutive years the international event could not be organised due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the last nine years, the sector has attracted FDI of Rs 50,000 crore. This happened because of the government’s pro-industry and pro-farmer policies,” Modi said.
He highlighted some of the measures, like production linked incentive (PLI) scheme, and establishment of mega food parks, which his government has taken towards further development of the food processing sector.
Modi also said investments of about Rs 50,000 crore has been made to set up post-crop harvest related infrastructure projects under a central scheme (Agri Infra Fund).
“Government’s investor-friendly policies are taking India to new heights. In the last nine years, the share of export of processed foods in the total agriculture exports has increased from 13 per cent to 23 per cent,” he said.
The prime minister also said women in India have the natural ability to lead the food processing industry.
He further said India’s sustainable food culture has evolved over thousands of years and ancestors linked food habits to Ayurveda.
“Mitigating food wastage is a significant endeavour in realising the objective of sustainable lifestyle. Our products should be designed to minimise wastage,” he said.
He also informed the gathering that delegates at G20 meetings relished the millet-based food.
He said millets are a key component of the ‘superfood bucket’, and called for diversification in the food basket of the country’s public distribution system.
“I am confident millets will reach every corner of the world. Many companies are launching millet-based products. There is a need to create a collective roadmap to enhance the share of millets in the overall food basket,” he said.
The government provides nutritional food to more than 10 crore children and pregnant women in the country.
“Now is the time to diversify the food basket of the public distribution,” Modi said.
Talking about the importance of this global event, he said amid changing world situation, food security is one of the key challenges facing the 21st century, and therefore the 3-day World Food India is important.
Before his address, the prime minister disbursed seed capital assistance of Rs 380 crore to over one lakh SHG members under PM Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises Scheme.
The seed capital assistance will help SHGs gain better price realisation in the market through improved packaging and quality manufacturing.
Speaking on the occasion, Union Food Processing Industries Minister Pashupati Kumar Paras urged foreign investors to invest in India in this sector.
Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said the Modi government has ensured food security of the country and also provided a boost to the food processing sector.
Minister of Rural Development Giriraj Singh and Minister of State for Food Processing Prahlad Singh Patel were also present.
World Food India will provide a networking and business platform for government bodies, industry professionals, farmers, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders to engage in discussions, establish partnerships, and explore investment opportunities in the agri-food sector.
During the event, CEOs roundtables will also take place with focus on investment and ease of doing business. Various pavilions have been set up to showcase the innovation and strength of the Indian food processing industry.
The three-day event will host 48 sessions focusing on various aspects of the food processing industry, with an emphasis on financial empowerment, quality assurance and innovations in machinery and technology.
The event is expected to host participants from over 80 countries, including CEOs of prominent food processing companies. It will feature a ‘Reverse Buyer Seller Meet’, with over 1,200 overseas buyers.
Last month, a senior food processing ministry official said the food processing sector is likely to attract more than Rs 75,000 crore investment during the second edition of World Food India. In the first edition, Rs 75,000 crore was committed, out of which Rs 23,000 crore has come, the official added.
Source: Business Standard