New Delhi, Nov 23 (UNI) Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) has for the first time put up its large pavilion to create awareness among millions of visitors in line with the theme of the India International Trade Fair (IITF) this year.
''Food processing is the only solution for sustainable agricultural growth and for the economic woes of the farmers,'' MoFPI Minister Subodh Kant Sahai told mediapersons during a press conference at the pavilion in Pragati Maidan today.
Highlighting the growth in the food processing sector, he informed that total investment in the organised small scale industries, medium and large units has gone up from Rs 30,000 crore in 2003-04 to Rs 40,000 crore by now as the number of large and med ium units has gone up by nearly 9.31 per cent from 241 in 2003-04 to 270 in 2005-06.
The Minister pointed out that foreign direct investment (FDI) in this sector has gone up from Rs 174 crore in 2004-05 to Rs 441 crore in 2006-07 while production of food processing units in the organised Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Sector has gone up from Rs 66,500 crore in 2002-03 to Rs 1,05,000 crore in 2006-07.
The employment in large and medium scale units is galloping at the rate of nearly 25 per cent per annum. It employs 13 million persons directly and 35 million persons indirectly.
Mr Sahai said food processing adds value to the farm produce, links farmers to market and the industry, thereby eliminating middlemen, ultimately resulting in large economic gains to the farmers.
''Retail chains are generally franchisees will create demand and they would buy processed products from this industry for sale in the neighbouring countries,'' he added.
The Minister said his Ministry is launching a massive training cum awareness as well as Entrepreneurship Development Programme to exercise right from the village or Panchayats level to the District level all over the country in the XIth Plan. It proposes to establish food processing training centres at the farm gate level in clusters of production of fruits and vegetables all over the country.
The MoFPI would synergise with Ministries of Small and Medium Enterprises, Rural Development and Labour for launching this massive training programme all over the country.
The Minister said that due to growing urbanisation and changing food habits, the demands for packaged foods and ready to eat foods has been rising at a good pace and there is enough latent market potential waiting to be exploited through developmental efforts.