Investment in food processing industry increases jobs in India

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Mumbai, May 7 (UNI) The food processing industry in India is a major driver of economic growth with multiplier effect of investment in this industry on employment generation is 2.5 times more than other sectors, a top government official said.

Addressing a session at the Food Forum India global convention here yesterday, Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries Director S S Chahal said that while the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate had increased from 3.5 per cent in 2002-03 to 9 per cent in 2006-07, the food-processing sector had grown from 7 per cent to 13.1 per cent during the same period.

''We are establishing mega food parks in different parts of the country, which will be run by a Special Purpose Vehicle created by all the stakeholders to create an integrated value chain from the farm gate to the consumer,'' he said adding that the Mega Food Park envisages complete backward and forward linkages along with common processing facilities, in which public investment could be of about 12.36 million dollar. This public investment is expected to leverage private investment of around 74.17 million dollar in one Mega Food Park.

Another strategic initiative taken in India is to establish cold chain facilities including refrigerated vans all over the country, to provide relief to the farmers, to enhance the shelf life of their product and retain its quality, he said.

Anchoring another session on 'Food Innovations With Food Brand and Retailers', ITC Foods Chief Executive Officer Ravi Naware said that India's food expenditure is estimated at 500 billion dollar per year and the country is among the top three emerging markets in the world.

Subhiksha Managing Director R Subramanian stressed on maintaining the cost efficiency to reduce wastage of food. Indian consumers are more sensitive towards fresh foods, he observed.

Hypercity Retail CEO Andrew Levermore suggested that in India the government should step in to provide crates and air-conditioned vans to farmers to make the supply chain more efficient and reduce wastage.

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