Food processing gets over Euro 106 mln FDI this year

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New Delhi, Oct 6 (UNI) Quoting with approval reported foreign direct investment of euro 106.4 million in food processing industry in the country this year, Minister of State for food processing industries Subodh Kant Sahai today urged the Indian and foreign investors to seize opportunities in setting up,expanding and modernising the industry.

In his inagural speech at International FoodTec India 2008 here, he said government's initiatives are bearing fruit as proved in a report by consultancy company, KPMG, which said the country has so far invited an FDI of euro 106.4 million this year compared to just four million euro in 2006.

He urged the industry to add value addition in meat, poultry, and fish processing, increase processing of perishables and enhance shelf life of processed food products through state-of-the-art technology.

Pointing out that Indian food industry constitute a poor 6.5 per cent of its gross domestic product(GDP), Danish company, Danisco, CEO Tom Knutzen said legislative issues are restricting innovation in food processing.

Small farm holdings,inadequate storage and transportation facilities are other factors stunting its growth, he added.

Talking of initiatives being taken by the government, Mr Sahai said five mega food parks are being set up at Satara (Maharashtra), Chittoor (Andhra Pradesh), Jalandhar (Punjab), Ranchi (Jharkhand) and Sonapur (Assam), while sites are being identified in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Kanrntaka for establishing another five such parks.

The target is to set up 30 such parks in the 11th plan.

He said the government has widened the scope of components of cold chain, value-added packaging centres and irradiation facilities by allowing flexibility in project planning.

The minister said the government has also allowed 100 per cent deduction of proift for first five years on upcoming fruits and vegetable processing units to boost the industry.

The ministry, he said, will give assistance of Rs 628 crore for modernising abattoirs under public private partnership model improving infrastructure facilities. The government, he added, had provided Rs 3.77 crore to 17 seafood processing units last year.

Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry secretary general Amit Mitra urged the government to relax rules for contract farming to give a boost to the food processing industry which use raw farm material. He sought harmonisation of food laws with international best practices and new standards under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSA).

Tax benefits and export incentives given to food processing industry should also be extended to food additive industry, he said.

Dr Mitra also wanted the government to create India specific plans to attract domestic and foreign investment and promote a special food additive and ingredient park.


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