Invest more in contract farming, raw-material sourcing and creation of agri-linkages, Modi tells private sector

Inaugurating World Food India (WFI) 2017, PM suggests to the aerated drinks manufacturers to consider blending 5% fruit juice in their products.

Updated - November 03, 2017 07:44 pm IST

Published - November 03, 2017 12:08 pm IST

"The participation of the private sector had been increasing in many segments of the value chain but it should invest more in contract farming, raw material sourcing and creation of agri-linkages. Many international companies in India had taken the lead in contract farming initiatives and there were huge opportunities for global supermarket chains that consider India as a major outsourcing hub," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday.

Inaugurating World Food India (WFI) 2017, he suggested to the aerated drinks manufacturers to consider blending 5% fruit juice in their products. Such a procedure had major potential, as fruit juice-based drinks were an intrinsic part of the Indian food habits.

Mr. Modi pitched for a ‘nutrition-rich and climate-smart crops’-based venture to boost the production and supply of the country's coarse grains and millets that not only have high nutritional value, but also withstand adverse agro-climatic conditions.


“Can we link our [India’s] potential, to the world's requirements? Can we link Indian traditions with the future of mankind? Can we connect India's farmers with markets around the world? These are some questions that I wish to leave with you,” the prime minister said, adding the WFI would provide “valuable insights into our rich culinary landscape, and highlight our ancient wisdom of food processing.”

Three-day mega event

The WFI — a three-day mega event that is being attended by around 2,000 people, over 200 companies from 30 countries, 18 ministerial and business delegations, nearly 50 global CEOs along with CEOs of all leading domestic food processing companies, and representatives of 28 States of the Union — is likely to see the signing of MoUs to the tune of $11 billion, according to Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal. 

The Prime Minister said there were opportunities in post-harvest management such as primary processing and storage, preservation infrastructure, cold chain and refrigerated transportation. Besides, there was immense potential for food processing and value-addition, especially in niche areas such as organic and fortified foods.

Many States have come up with attractive food processing policies to attract investment. “I urge each State to identify at least one food product for specialisation. Similarly, each district can also select some food items for production, and one item for specialisation,” he said.

The Prime Minister pointed out that increasing urbanisation and a growing middle class resulted in an ever-growing demand for wholesome, processed food. “Over a million passengers have a meal on a train in India, every single day. Each one of them is a potential customer for the food processing industry. Such is the scale of opportunity that is waiting to be tapped.”

'Sweet' and 'blue' revolutions

On sub-sectors of the Indian food industry that have the potential to increase farmers’ incomes, Mr Modi said the government aimed to take the dairy sector, which is a vital area for the rural economy, to the next level by increasing the production levels of multiple products based on milk.

Referring to honey, where India currently ranks sixth in production and export, he said, “India is now ripe for a ‘sweet revolution’.”

Mr. Modi also pointed out that the country exported fish and fisheries products to about 95 countries. “We aim to make a big leap in the ocean economy through a 'blue revolution'. Our focus is on development of untapped areas, such as ornamental fisheries and trout farming. We also wish to explore new areas, like pearl farming.”

India’s commitment to sustainable development was at the heart of the government’s thrust for organic farming. The entire Northeast offered opportunities to create functional infrastructure for organic produce, he said.

Indian foods to prevent lifestyle diseases

Referring to the increase in lifestyle diseases, he said, “The combination of traditional Indian food, with modern technology, processing and packaging, can help the world rediscover the health benefits, and refreshing taste of Indian food ingredients such as turmeric, ginger, and tulsi, to name just a few. The perfect blend of hygienic, nutritious and tasty processed food, with the added benefits of preventive healthcare, can be produced economically, here in India.”

On the government’s stated target of doubling farm incomes within five years, he said the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana, which aimed to create world class food processing infrastructure, was expected to leverage an investment of $5 billion, benefit two million farmers and generate more than half a million jobs over the next three years.”

The creation of mega food parks was a key component of this scheme. “Nine such parks are already operational, and more than 30 others are in the process of coming up across the country.” Farmer groups were being encouraged to set up units in these parks, thereby reducing wastage and transportation costs, and creating new jobs, he said.

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