Elaborate the policy taken by the Government of India to meet the challenges of the food processing sector.
The food processing industry (FPI) is considered a sunrise sector that has gained prominence in recent years. The industry is of enormous significance because of the vital linkages and synergies that it promotes between the two pillars of our economy i.e. industry and agriculture.
The food processing industry is struggling with the following challenges:
▪️ Poor supply chain linkages that results in high wastage and high costs.
▪️ Infrastructure bottlenecks such as packaging facilities, cold storage, transportation, etc. cause a significant amount of food produced getting wasted.
▪️ India lacks basic standardisation and certification infrastructure, as there is a huge gap in the availability of laboratories, trained manpower, and certification agencies.
▪️Lack of trained human resources at different levels in the food processing industry mostly due to lack of training infrastructure; lack of specialised training programmes etc.
▪️In addition, there are challenges like inadequate demand-based innovations, access to credit, proper branding, etc.
Given the above-mentioned challenges, the government has taken the following policy initiatives:
▪️The Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) is implementing PMKSY (Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana) as a comprehensive package for creation of modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management from farm gate to retail outlet. It is expected to provide a big boost to the growth of food processing sector, help in providing better returns to farmers, create huge employment opportunities especially in the rural areas, reduce wastage of agricultural produce, and enhance the export of the processed food. Under PMKSY the following schemes are to be implemented.
✔️Mega Food Parks
✔️ Integrated cold chain, value addition and preservation infrastructure
✔️ Creation/expansion of food processing/preservation capacities
Infrastructure for agro-processing clusters
✔️ Scheme for creation of backward and forward linkages
✔️Food safety & quality assurance infrastructure
✔️Human resources and institutions
▪️Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy: FDI up to 100%, under the automatic route is allowed in food processing industries.
▪️Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA): As an apex organisation under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, APEDA focusses on ‘export’ of scheduled products.
▪️The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is working to strengthen the food testing infrastructure in India, by upgrading the existing food testing laboratories and setting up new mobile testing labs across the country.
▪️The Ministry of Food Processing Industries announced a scheme for Human Resource Development (HRD) in the food processing sector.
The scheme has the following four components:
✔️Creation of infrastructure facilities for degree/diploma courses in the food processing sector
✔️Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP)
✔️Food Processing Training Centres (FPTC)
✔️Training at recognised institutions at State/national level
The food processing industry is critical to India’s growth and the government should focus on providing adequate impetus to the sector. With the correct set of policy implementations and support, the industry can grow by leaps and bounds, taking India to a new position of strength and prosperity in the global economy.