Nano technology will be used in food processing: Minister

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Kochi, May 10 (UNI) The Centre has devised a 'National Nano Science and Technology Initiative' to encourage research and development in this area, which has the potential to revolutionise the food industry, union minister of state for Food Processing Subodh Kant Sahay said today.

In his speech, read out in absentia at the inauguration of the Kerala state Conference of Bakers Association, Mr Sahay said nano technology had an important role to play in packaging and food safety areas.

Research was going on all over the world and most of the food giants had undertaken research to develop 'nano food' by using this technology during cultivation, production, processing and packaging of food, the minister added.

He called upon the private players in India also to undertake research in this area on a public-private partnership basis to gain a competitive edge in the market.

Pointing out the importance given to the food processing sector by the UPA Government, Mr Sahay said the XIth Plan outlay for the sector had been hiked to Rs 5,000 crore from Rs 600 crore in the Xth Plan.

Among the major initiatives planned during the XIth Plan period were 30 'mega food parks', modernisation of 100 abattoirs, setting up of up cold chain infrastructure, 100 testing and food safety laboratories, a 'Meat Board' and a 'National Institute for Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management,' he added.

Stating that modern retail would create the right environment for the development of the food processing industry in India, Mr Sahay urged the bakery sector to focus on product diversification, branding and quality. He noted that in countries like Germany, there were as many as 200 varieties of bread.

In India, bread and biscuits formed over 80 per cent of the bakery industry, which had an annual turnover of Rs 3,000 crore. The unorganised sector was estimated to contribute more than 70 per cent of the total production.

He said the bread industry was expected to register rapid growth, driven by consumers' need for convenient food options and snacks.

Similarly, biscuit industry in the country had also grown by ten to 12 per cent since the sector was dereserved in 1999-2000.

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