Bhubaneswar, Jan 24:
The food processing industry in India is set to double in the next 10 years, Odisha Governor Dr S C Jamir said here on Friday.
Inaugurating ‘Farm 2 Fork’, a National Seminar-cum-exhibition on food processing and agri business potential of Odisha’ here, the Governor said there is tremendous opportunity for large investments in food and food processing technologies, skills and equipment; especially in dairy, fruits and vegetables, fisheries, meat and poultry.
“Food Processing industry bears significance as it promotes vital linkages and synergies between industry and agriculture; the two pillars of our economy,” Jamir said to industry honchos.
The FP industry presently achieves only 50-60% of the potential yield for most crops due to poor technology adoption, weak links between farmers and industry, unexplored opportunities in branding, marketing and exports, lack of infrastructure from firm to table, dearth of extension support, research and innovation and last but not the least the shortage of entrepreneurial willingness, a survey by the CII and McKinsey & Company says.
“Odisha, with 6.25 million hectares of cultivable land, 10 diverse agro-climatic zones, has tremendous production advantages in agriculture and food processing to cultivate a vast range of agricultural products,” Minister for MSME, health and family welfare Dr Damodar Rout said on the occasion.
He referred to Koraput and Gajapati districts in the state as having rich bio-diversity and a conducive climate for agriculture. “While Odisha’s food grain production was around 55 lakh MTs in 2000, it reached at a level of 92 lac MT in 2011-12,” Dr Rout said, adding, “the production should be matched with adequate marketing linkage to sell agricultural produces in the domestic market instead of exporting them to other states.”
“Sensitization programme for entrepreneurs has been encouraged in all the 314 blocks of the state to invest in the FP sector,” he added.
“Odisha which leads among other states in paddy production needs to diversify into other high-yield crops to gain more revenue. As per a Planning Commission report, investment inflow to the tune of around 33 billion US dollar is expected within the coming 10 years in the state, Minister Fisheries and Animal resources and Housing & Urban development Debi Prasad Mishra revealed.
“The Country needs to add about 5 million tons of food grains every year as a part of food security provisions. To achieve this target, the Government requires to reduce the subsidy burden in case of fertilizers, a key input of agriculture and rather compensate the farmers by way of providing them cheaper credit, which is hovering @4% at present,” S S Nandurdikar, Chairman, Agri & Food Processing Task Force, CII Eastern region and Managing Director Paradeep Phosphates Ltd (PPL) said.
He went on to add that urea is over-subsidised to the extent of 70% while phosphatic fertilizers like DAP is getting a subsidy of 30%. This anomaly needs to be removed, he said.
He hailed the initiative of the government to set up a farmers’ training school and mobile testing lab on PPP mode and stressed on strengthening the logistics and supply chain in the FP industry.
“About 30% food grains and 10% processed foods, out of which fruits and vegetables comprises of 2.2%, in the country gets wasted every year due to leakage in the logistics and supply chain system,” Nandurdikar added.