“India has the potential to become a global leader in food processing sector. Food processing sector has got the ability to integrate the gap between the farmers and the consumer. Food Processing is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy and the sector is growing at 8.4%,” said the Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
The minister further said that Food Processing Industry is one of the major employment intensive segments constituting 13.04% of employment generated in all Registered Factory sector in 2012-13, there is an immense potential in food processing sector to generate employment in the country.
Minister appreciated the performance of the sector reflected in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) for Factory output in food processing sector, which stands at 5.7% (Apr.-Feb.) 2014-15 as compared to (-) 2.1% (Apr.-Feb.) 2013-14. The increase is mainly driven by growth in rice (11.8%), edible hydrogenated oil (5.6%) and milk, skimmed & pasteurised (1.4%).
She informed that 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is permissible in food processing sector through automatic route except for items reserved for Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs). During (Apr-Jan.) 2014-15, the sector has attracted $ 421.51 million FDI in the country. Food Processing is one of the priority sectors under ‘Make in India’ initiative by the Prime Minister of India.
Minister said that during last six months, the average inflation rate for (Oct.-March) 2014-15 against (Oct.-March) 2013-14 for food articles & manufactured food items have witnessed a decline from 13% to 5.1% and from 1.8% to 1.5%respectively in 2014-15 as compared to 2013-14.
High level of wastages in perishables is a challenge but endeavour of the Government is to promote food processing industry to catalyze reduction of wastage of agricultural produce and ensuring higher returns to the farmers. With a view to promote the sector, the Government has been strengthening infrastructure by supporting creation of Cold chain and Mega Food Park under the Central Sector Scheme of Infrastructure Development. Recently, Ministry has sanctioned 17 new Mega Food Parks to attract investment in the sector and will sanction approx. 30 more new Cold Chain projects.