Speaking at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit Union Minister for food processing industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal said that India had the right environment to take the food processing industry to its full potential. She said that given the right impetus and curbing food wastage could see an upsurge in this industry.
In India the food processing industry is a sunrise industry that has yet to realise its full potential. Though India has the raw material it has been unable to realise its dream of being a global leader. A 2010 report made by FICCI shows that India processes only 2% of its fruits and vegetables as compared to USA, Philippines and even China that processes almost a quarter of its fruits and vegetables. Besides fruit and vegetables the total produce used in the food processing industry stands at only 10% which needs to grow if India is to lead the world in the food processing sector.
Harsimrat Kaur laid stress on the fact that the food processing industry has the potential to provide safe and highly nutritional food at affordable rates that even the common man could afford. This would also help to curb food inflationary trends. She said that there are endless possibilities in the food processing industry that have not yet been tapped.
Presently the food processing industry is growing at the rate of 9% as compared to the 3.3% growth rate in agriculture or 6.6 % in manufacturing. The problem that needs to be analysed is the high production and low processing rate. For an industry that engages 60% of the population directly or indirectly and one that contributes 13% to Indian exports, the massive potential that the food processing industry has remains mainly unexploited. It could definitely employ much more people and provide nutritional food security. Infrastructure is one of the major hurdles that the industry has to overcome besides reducing waste and improving the lot of the farmers.