Food processing offers wide scope for investors to start industries, said K.Alagu Sundaram, director, Indian Institute of Crop Processing Technology (IICPT), here on Friday.
Speaking at an investors meet organised by the Thanjavur Chamber of Commerce and Industry at IICPT, Mr.Alagu Sundaram said that though India is the third largest producer of food in the world, food exports constitute a mere 1.5 per cent of our total exports. Investors can explore avenues for export in the sector, he said.
IICPT's target is farmers, members of self help groups, and rural youth. Investors can play a role in creating cold chains and food parks.
Preserving food is an essential part of our tradition and pickles are a good example. Alagu Sundaram narrated some success stories in the food processing companies such as "Aachi Masala," "Lion Dates," and "Idhayam Gingili Oil". Aachi Masala is now grown into Rs.700 crore company within 13 years. Similarly other companies have also grown into multi-crore businesses. Food articles such as meat and fish have the potential to grow into a huge industry as these products are sold in unhygienic condition in the country. Processed food will play a major role in future and soon "Kitchen-less homes" are going to be a reality.
In the 12th plan period, Central government has planned to establish 600 cold chains in the country. The government has also planned to put up 200 food testing laboratories during the twelfth plan period of which 84 have already been established. Thirty five lakh people will be trained in the food processing industry during the period.
A.Amudhasurabi, assistant professor, IICPT, said that annual food business is worth Rs.1.5lakh crore with product range of about 80,000. Hence choice of food and technology varies across the country.
PLA.Chidambaram, president of the chamber, said that 57 members of the chamber are taking part in the meet. K.Padmanabhan, vice-president, Anandan, secretary and Prabhu, treasurer , participated.