Food Map being developed to help identify food clusters in India

A Food Map being developed by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries will help identify food clusters across the country ,according to Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Minister for Food Processing Industries. She was speaking at the Industry interaction, organized by CII in New Delhi today. She complimented CII team for providing in-depth insights of the issues being faced by the Industry along with specific recommendations to unleash the potential of the Food Processing Sector .

According to the Minister, the Food Map will not only help identify strengths in terms of crop strength, production, processing, but also help the Ministry to ensure the desired interventions to expand the Indian food export market and develop brand India. She added that the Food Processing Ministry is working to devise new schemes to provide last mile delivery to farmers, which include ‘Farm to Shelf’ schemes like setting up mobile processing vans which could reach out to farmers, and setting up small food processing units providing business incubation, training and a processing centre at village level so that farmers’ produce is processed and reach markets.

Outlining the priorities for the Food Processing Ministry, the Minister mentioned that the need of the hour is to – first, to curb food inflation by boosting food processing; secondly To mitigate post harvest fruit and vegetable losses; third, to drive and accelerate food processing industries growth; fourth, to de-regulate and simplify governmental systems, processes and clearances that delay food processing projects, causing huge losses to the companies putting up projects; and lastly, To review the role of FSSAI regarding long delays in clearing product approvals.

During the discussions with the Minister for Food Processing Industries, Piruz Khambatta, Chairman, CII National Food Processing committee and Chairman & Managing Director, Rasna Pvt Ltd, suggested a deep dive into Gujarat Model of Agricultural Growth, Encouraging Exports, Promoting Industry Government Education linkages, Favourable Tax regime, Rejuvenating Mega Food Park Schemes, Skill development to Focus on Women, Cold Chain development, Growth oriented regulatory environment, and APMC reforms, to take on inflationary challenges to the Indian economy.

According to Akshay Bector, Chairman, CII Northern Region Agr & Food Processsing committee and Managing Director, Bector's Food Specialties Limited, given the inflationary pressure of deficient monsoons on perishables like horticulture, dairy, etc, supply chain management needs to be improved. He also emphasized on rejuvenating the Mega Food Park Scheme and connecting directly with farmers to bridge the gap between wholesale and retail prices.

During the interaction, the industry members also suggested the uniform implementation of the APMC Act across states, immediate delisting of perishables from the APMC list and giving farmers the freedom to sell fresh, perishable produce directly to food processing companies, aggregators and retailers.

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