The government plans to cut down on food wastage nationwide by linking major producing states with states experiencing high demand as well as the food processing industry.
Speaking at the second edition of Indus Food, India's official export-focused food and beverage trade fair, Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Monday said the government will get involved in the transportation of perishable items on a priority basis.
"Everyday, we hear news from states like UP, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Maharashtra of farmers discarding their items or doing distress sale of their produce. But, this is soon going to change as the Centre has already started work on developing a mechanism to ensure that states producing any item in excess are able to transport it to other states where there is a demand," she said.
"We have already tied up with organisations like National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) to make this happen. This will greatly help farmers by getting them proper income for their produce," Badal said. This will be part of the 'Green Operation' scheme covering tomato, onion and potatoes.
India is able to use just 10 per cent of its produce in the food processing industry while over 60 per cent of the population continues to be engaged in agriculture. The government blames this on lack of proper cold storage facilities. It has announced loans worth Rs 50 crore to build mini cold chains.
Investments in the food processing sector have crossed $1 billion under the Narendra Modi government, while it stood at $50 million under the 10 years of the United Progressive Alliance regime.
Global buyers reach
The Agri Export Policy, released last month by the government, also aims to slash food wastage, but primarily by boosting exports. The two-day expo, organised by the Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI), is part of the government's plan to push India into the list of top 10 food exporting nations.
Indus Food-II has brought together 800 international wholesale buyers, big sized food chains and governmental bodies from about 80 countries, up from 400 buyers in its inaugural year. These players have the chance to meet 500-plus exhibitors covering 15 product zones.
"With the government itself now working towards the identification of most prominent global buyers and creating their interactions with quality Indian suppliers through Indus Food, the benefit will percolate to the farmers. Moreover, the target of $60 billion exports, as envisaged in our Agri-Export Policy, is now within reach," TPCI Chairman Mohit Singla said.
Supported by the Commerce Department, Indus Food is a flagship global trade show to maximise business opportunities for the F&B industry. Among other things, it also promotes value-added and organic products. India is ranked first in terms of the total number of organic producers, with 1.1 million farmers practicing organic agriculture.
"With the government removing all restrictions on the export of organic farm products, their export is sure to contribute in a much bigger way now in meeting the target of $60 billion in food and agriculture exports by 2022, as set by the Agriculture Export Policy 2018," added Singla.
HUNGRY FOR MORE
- India is able to use just 10% of its produce in the food-processing industry, while over 60% of the population continues to be engaged in agriculture
- The Centre blames this on lack of proper cold storage facilities
- It has announced loans worth Rs 50 crore to build mini cold chains
- Investments in food processing sector have crossed $1 billion under the Modi government