Mix fruit juice to benefit farmers: PM Narendra Modi to soft drink makers

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Tumkur (Karnataka), Sep 24: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday urged soft drink makers to mix fruit juice in their aerated beverages and help farmers earn more through value addition.

"I have asked companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi, which make soft drinks, to blend five percent of fresh fruit juice in their aerated beverages so that thousands of farmers producing fruits will benefit from such value addition," Modi said here after unveiling an integrated food park, set up by the Mumbai-based FMCG major Future Group.

Noting that such a gesture by soft drink makers would immensely benefit fruit producers, Modi said he has directed state-run research centres to come out with a formula for blending aerated beverages like colas with fresh fruit juices.

"A single decision like blending colas with fruit juices will generate multi-crore business for all stakeholders in the value chain like farmers, processors, distributors and suppliers," Modi said in his 20-minute address.

Asserting that value addition would increase farmers' income by manifold, the prime minister said his government would set up similar food parks across the country in partnership with state governments and the private sector to process fruits and vegetables for optimal utilisation of natural resources and minimise wastage.

"Processing of fruits, vegetables and other agro products will fetch more income to farmers and prevent them from resorting to distress sale in times of excess production or lack of access to markets where demand is more than supply," he said.

Observing that demand for organic food was growing, the prime minister said efforts should be made to tap the Himalayan region and the northeastern states, which have fertile soil and conducive climate to grow more natural food.

Union Minister of State for Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal said the central government would open four more food parks in other states this fiscal (2014-15) and expand their presence in about 20 centres across the country.

IANS

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