Industry projects huge growth of food industry

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New Delhi, Nov 13 (UNI) Projecting an ambitious agenda for the Rs 8,80,000 crore Indian food industry, an apex chamber today said if the government and other stake holders implemented it, the industry could leapfrog to raking in an additional business of Rs 4,40,000 crore by 2015.

In a knowledge paper prepared by Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) with the assistance of a onsultancy, it sought implementation of policy initiatives by government, industry-government partnership, collaboration with farmers, fine tuning areas of production, processing, marketing and supply chain.

In its 13-point recipe, FICCI demanded creation of new and upgrading existing infrastructure, including in the fields of production, processing and distribution.

It said besides agricultural infrastructure directly required by food processing industry, the government should implement Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSA) in its original spirit by protecting interest of all stakeholders.

The industry chamber urged the government to incentivise private sector to motivate its partnership in the gigantic endeavour. While inviting private sector's investment in the food industry, the government should consider viability gap funding to attract it to public private partnerships (PPP).

FICCI sought a paradigm shift in the production system from being supply driven to demand driven. Quality of processed food should be of world class standards and to achieve it high quality institutions should be set up, it added.

Once quality standards have been achieved, the food industry should go for capacity building to achieve economies of scale, the chamber said.

It also suggested building up of strong linkages between technology transfer, capacity building and skill upgradation.

Once having achieved quality standards, the industry can launch an awareness campaign to wean away consumers from fresh to packaged food.

The government should support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in upgrading skills and assist them for certification, capacity building and connecting them to the markets.

In view of diverse food habits of Indians, Ficci said industry should take market research to design appropriate marketing strategies for processed food. It should also offer customised products which could be readily accepted by Indian household.

It said since organised retail would be a key driver in the development of packaged and processed food, the government should take policy decision on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail sector along with the necessary regulatory framework for facilitating backward integration in the food industry.

The chamber also demanded implementation of the amended Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act so as to increase buyer-producer interaction.

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