India to play major role in future of global food business: Sahai

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New Delhi, Oct 17 (UNI) India has a major role in the future of global food business as it has a strong base in agriculture and provides a large and varied raw material base for food processing industry.

''It is a country of over 1.10 billion consumers there is a large untapped domestic market of 1,000 million consumers in the food processing sector and 200 million more consumers are expected to shift to processed food by 2010,'' Union Minister of State for Food Processing Subodh Kant Sahai said at the opening of Indian Pavilion in the Trade Fair ''Anuga -2007'' of International Food Sector at Cologne, Germany.

The fair has been jointly organised by Ministry of Food Processing Industry( MFPI) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce Industry (FICCI), Agriculture Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and Industry Associations.

The Minister said there are many areas for investment in this sector which include mega food parks, agri-infrastructure, supply chain aggregation, logistics&cold chain infrastructure, fruit and vegetable products, animal products, meat and dairy, fisheries&seafood, cereals, consumer foods/ready to eat foods, wine and beer, machinery/packaging.

Emphasising that the Centre was giving priority to this sector, he said the Government has set up a National Institute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) at Kundli, Haryana as an apex knowledge centre in the field of latest Food Technology.

The Minister pointed out that the ''Food Parks'' are being set up across the country as part of the strategy to develop food processing infrastructure as it will help small and medium entrepreneurs in a big way.

Mr Sahai also informed that the government has enacted the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 to consolidate multiple laws relating to food and set up an independent Food Authority.

Underscoring the salient features of the country's economy, the Minister said India is the fourth largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity and is a fastest growing free market democracy.

He said that the strategic geographic location like its proximity to markets in Europe and Far East, South East and West Asia has made India the hub of operations for most of the major global players in the industry today.

The wide spread road and rail network along with well developed infrastructure and distribution network make India a good place for investment, he added.

Pointing out the vision 2015 of the Government for the Food Processing Sector, the Minister said enhancing and stablising the income level of the farmers, providing choice to consumers, promoting a dynamic food processing industry and making the sector attractive for both domestic and foreign investors and having a transparent and industry friendly regulatory regime are some of the highlights of this vision strategy.

Later speaking at the 'Indian Tastes' organised during the same Trade Fair, the Minister said the event represents the growing Indian Food Industry's appeal across the globe with its unique flavoured products, tastes and distinctiveness.

He said there is rising awareness and demand in the global market regarding ethnic Indian food products.

UNI

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