‘Food processing industry needs to form consortium for R&D;’June 30th, 2011 - 12:55 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 29 (IANS) A group of government and private institutions should join hands to provide research and development inputs to food processing enterprises as most firms in the sector don’t have the capacity to invest in R&D; activities, senior officials said Wednesday.
“The bulk of the food processing units in the country do not have the capacity and the funds to undertake R&D; activity. It is, therefore, important to create a system for absorption of technologies through models that are most suited to these enterprises,” T. Ramasami, secretary in the ministry of science and technology, said at an event organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry here.
He said a group of institutions should form a consortium to undertake research and development activities in the food processing industry. “A group of institutions can come together through the public private partnership (PPP) model to provide R&D; inputs to food processing enterprises,” Ramasami said.
He said research and development could bring about a 10-15 percent increase in value addition in agri-produce.
A huge amount of agricultural produce is wasted every year in India due to lack of proper processing facilities. Wastage of perishable food products due to low level of processing is estimated at Rs.30,000 crore a year.
The average processing level in India is a mere 10 percent of the total agri-produce, resulting in significant quality deterioration and wastages in the supply chain. Value addition of the total agri-produce is just 20 percent and India’s share in global trade in processed food is a negligible 1.5 percent.
Ashok Sinha, secretary in the ministry of food processing industries, said his ministry was preparing a “master plan” for the development of the sector. The ministry will soon submit its plan to the Planning Commission for its consideration.
Sinha said apart from the low level of R&D;, the food processing sector was also facing other challenges, including the issues of aggregation and quality of raw materials.
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