Food processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has invited all states and investors to convert the challenges into opportunities for the food processing sector in India. Addressing a meeting through video conferencing, she said that the nationwide lockdown was successful due to the Government’s effort to make essentials especially food available at every corner of the country since the beginning.
Mrs Badal requested all participants to follow the clarion call of Hon’ble Prime Minister to become ‘Atma Nirbhar’ and ‘be vocal for local’. She said new countries are looking at India as a sourcing hub as compared to the traditional ones from where these were importing earlier. She urged the industry to ensure that it works at its full potential.
The Minister advised all investors to look at the low hanging Ready to Eat (RTE) segment as a potential opportunity. She mentioned that the Superfoods of India need to be highlighted to the western world. She advised states to share the most popular and nutritious local food which could be branded and marketed through big retailers in foreign countries to target Indian diaspora.
The Union Minister talked about the importance of modern technology for creating an aggregation portal at the national level for monitoring pan India inventory of agri-food products which would not only help the industry in sourcing but also help in boosting exports.
She highlighted that 74 per cent of the total employment in food processing was in the unorganized segment. She said 60 per cent of the 25 lakh units were in rural areas and 80 per cent of these were family owned. Mrs Badal said this segment alone could be the future of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and could make the initiative successful. Minister of State Rameswar Teli was also present.
The forum witnessed participation from the senior most policy makers from both Union and 6 State Governments – Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. 193 companies from 19 countries also participated in the forum.