The food processing sector has emerged the fastest-growing sub-sector of the manufacturing sector during last financial year, a top official said on Tuesday.
Food processing units, being set up in Mega Food Parks, would be provided with entire basic infrastructure facilities like warehouses, storage facilities, testing labs and fruit-ripening chambers, Rakesh Kacker, Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, said.
After inaugurating Mega Food Parks Summit here, organised by the Ministry and Assocham, Kacker said the food processing industry has consistently registered growth rate faster than that registered by agricultural sector. “Thus the industry was consistently adding value to the agriculture sector,” he said.
On National Mission on Food Processing, Kacker said the mission was launched with the specific purpose of enhancing involvement of states in efforts to further the growth of the food processing industry. As a part of its promotional efforts to push further the food processing sector in potential states across India, Kacker said the Ministry of Food Processing Industries has already finalised four schemes on technology upgradation and cold chains for non-horticultural crops, among others.
Emphasising the need to maintain appropriate quality standards in the food industry, Kacker said a newly created body, Food Safety and Standards Authority, is playing the regulatory role in this regard.
“However, MoFPI was keen to start a process of self-regulation by industry. Towards this end, MoFPI was in touch with apex industry organisations and trying to develop a system of self-certification by food processing units. Quality Council of India has been tasked with drawing up a roadmap for this purpose,” he said.
Initially, this will run parallel to statutory certification required to be obtained by units but eventually there could be blending of statutory and voluntary certification, Kacker said.