Food processing is answer to India’s problems: Pranab

June 24th, 2009 - 8:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Haldia (West Bengal), June 24 (IANS) After the Green Revolution and White Revolution, a food processing revolution is the need of the hour for India to solve “major problems of unemployment, rural poverty and deprivation”, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Wednesday.
“After Green Revolution and White Revolution, there is need for translating into reality another revolution, that is the revolution in the food processing industry. There lies the answer to our major problems of unemployment, rural poverty and deprivation,” Mukherjee said after inaugurating the manufacturing unit of an edible oil refinery of the Gokul Group of Companies here.

He said last year India produced 230 million tonnes of food grain and converted itself from a net importer to net exporter in the sector.

“If keeping pace with our economic progress we can enhance food processing, specially in the rural areas, then only we can bring a revolutionary change in economy,” Mukherjee said.

At present, India imports one million tonnes of edible oil from various countries to bridge the demand-supply gap in the country.

“In 2008-09, in the first three months not only the oil prices increased, food grains also became expensive. This will keep increasing as the population is increasing constantly,” he said.

He said though India is second in tropical fruit production after Brazil and in vegetable after China, the farmers over here do not get proper price for their produce.

“The reason is we cannot process and preserve more than 10-15 percent of our production. It perishes. Else farmers sell it at throw-away prices. That is why we need revolution in food processing,” he added.

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