Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, on Saturday, called upon investors — both global and Indian — to leverage opportunities in the country’s farm, dairy, poultry, and fisheries sectors. The industry responded by highlighting the challenges it faces, including high goods and services tax (GST) rate on some items and high cost of funds, but assured that it was willing to partner with the government to ensure the sector grows at a fast clip. “The world is eager to study and adapt our growth strategy and the government is implementing various schemes to promote these sectors in order to double farmers’ income by 2022,” Singh said at the World Food India 2017 event. He said that India has moved ahead from a country facing food shortage to becoming a food exporter. He said there were investment opportunities here as India is the world’s largest milk producer, second-largest fruits and vegetable producer, third in production of fish and fifth in egg production. Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry, Devendra Chaudhury said the government was looking at setting up cold chains in ports and harbors to facilitate fish exports, focusing on developing pasture land for growing fodder, which is in acute shortage in the country and also taking various steps to boost breeding and artificial insemination techniques which would give better milk, egg and meat yields. Speaking at the event, Nestlé India Chairman and Managing Director Suresh Narayan talked about different opportunities in the dairy sector. The per capita consumption of milk is rising in the country and the milk can be fortified with vitamins thereby increasing its nutritional value, he said. Nekkanti Sea Foods Director Venkat Rao said the opportunities exist in the shrimp sector and also talked about challenges like traceability being faced by the industry. Rasna Pvt Ltd Managing Director Piruz Khambatta said the food processing industry will promote Make in India and also help in doubling farmers’ income. He said the government should keep all processed food items below the 28 per cent GST tax rates and also allow it to access loans at the same concessional rates as it gives to agriculture sector. Yogesh Bellani, CEO of Field Fresh Foods said there were some distinct trends in India’s food processing sector which needs to be tapped. He said there are lots of opportunities in fruits and vegetables sector but it has to be made affordable and remunerative for both farmers and consumers alike. R S Sodhi, Managing Director of Amul said any investment opportunity in the food processing sector should ensure that on one hand farmers get a good price for their produce, while on the other hand the products are available at affordable rates to consumers. In 2016-17, India exported 5.03 million tonnes of fruits and vegetables (fresh fruits and vegetables — 4.16 million mt, processed fruit, and vegetable — 0.88 million mt, flower farming — 33,725 mt), which was 12 per cent more in value terms.
Invest more in dairy, poultry & fisheries sector: Agri Minister
Food processors seek GST rates below 28% for all items
BS Reporter |