‘India will become food factory of the world’

February 25th, 2009 - 7:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Haridwar, Feb 25 (IANS) With the food processing industry in India growing 13.7 percent annually, India is set to be become the food factory of the world, says Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Subodh Kant Sahai.

“While the manufacturing sector growth in the country has gone down from 7 percent to 6 percent, the food processing sector is growing a a robust 13.7 percent,” Sahai said at the foundation laying ceremony of the Patanjali Food and Herbal Park at village Padartha near here Wednesday afternoon, one of the 10 mega food parks that are being set up in the next two years in the country under the 11th Five-Year Plan.

The parks are being set up to boost the food processing sector through establishment of an integrated supply chain management to take food in various forms from the farm gate to the retail outlet and thereby reduce wastage of agricultural produce.

The minister said that though India depends on countries in the Gulf and the Middle East for oil, these countries look to India for food.

“India’s food processing industry has got the whole world market to exploit,” Sahai said.

“Even the great American entrepreneur Warren Buffet when asked on CNN television where he would like to invest next, said he would like to invest in India’s food processing sector,” he said.

He pointed out that whereas processing of food to consumable standards are at levels of up to 80 percent in some developed countries, the overall processing level of such produce in India ranges from 7 to 8 percent. This despite the fact that India is the world’s second largest producer of fruits and vegetables.

The mega food parks scheme is the flagship project of the ‘Vision 2015′ being undertaken by MOFPI which is aimed at, apart from raising India’s share in the world market, ensuring a three-fold growth in the size of India’s processed food sector, increasing the level of processing of perishables from six percent to 20 percent and raising value addition of such the products from 20 percent to 35 percent.

Lauding the efforts of yoga guru Swami Ramdev’s Patanjali Jog Peeth in setting up the food park, he said that the park would be used as a model for the other mega food parks coming up in the country. A total of 30 such mega food parks are being envisaged under the 11th Plan period.

On Monday, the foundation stone of one such food mega food park was laid in Ranchi and the minister will move to Assam Thursday to lay the foundation of another such park at Nalbari.

Other such parks are coming up at Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh, Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu, Chikmagalur in Karnataka, Shirwal in Maharashtra, Jangipur in West Bengal, Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh and Jalandhar in Punjab.

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