Food processing is the fifth largest sector of India’s economy and contributes 13 per cent to the country’s annual GDP, says former President and Mentor MSME Mentoring and Guidance Center, PHDCCI Anil Khaitan. He highlighted this in a virtual seminar on Promoting Enterpreneurship and Investment in Food Processing Industry.
Experts pointed out that the industry has a huge potential with India’s agro-climate zones providing fertile ground for various plant-based edibles. Khaitan said 127 agro-climate zones in the country provide a fertile ground for various plant-based edibles that cater to indigenous people and also global consumers. Saurabh Sanyal, PHDCCI Secretary, highlighted how the chamber was working with the government and non-governmental organizations to assist the food processing industries in mentoring, technological upgradation and financing. Sanyal said the biggest challenges facing the sector include inability of enterpreneurs to access credit, high cost of institutional credit, lack of access to modern technologies, inability to integrate with the food supply chain and compliance with health and safety standards.
PHDCCI advisor and former CMD of NSIC HP Kumar pointed out wastage of agricultural produce. He said India’s agricultural production base was reasonably strong, but wastage of agricultural produce was sizable. “The food processing industry in India is a sunrise sector changing the trend from sustenance to market-oriented that has gained prominence in recent years,” Kumar said. He added that if enterpreneurship was promoted in this sector, investment would follow on its own.
Meanwhile, RK Singh the Joint Director of UP Department of Food Processing, informed that various schemes and lucratives subsidies were available for attracting investment in the sector. Under the UP Food Processing Industrial Policy 2017, Singh said an investor in micro and small industry category can avail one hundred per cent reimbursement of interest subsidies within the tenure of five years with a maximum reimbursement of Rs 5 lakhs in a year.
This sector has emerged as a high-growth and high-profit sector because of its immense potential for value addition. The central government has been instrumental in the growth and development of the food processing industry.