The Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal today launched the first ever report focusing on the availability of fruits and vegetables pan India at the Yes Bank-MoFPI National Conference on Spurring financing & Investments in the Food Processing Sector.
Highlighting the importance of nurturing the Food Processing Industry, Smt Badal said, “I commend Yes Bank for coming up with this report and Fruits and Vegetables map; it can be used as a handbook of some of the best available data today on Fruits and Vegetable availability across the nation. Agricultural land is reducing but mouths to be fed are increasing so we must grow more, from less, to feed more – that is where food processing comes in, and if there is more availability, there will be less inflation. We need to aim for higher standards in food processing to guard the population against inflation.”
Badal underscored the need to prepare a National Food Grid. She said that the first step towards this Grid is this “Fruits & Vegetables Availability Maps of India Booklet” which puts forth an overview of the production and availability scenario of key food commodities in the country. The content of this booklet gives an insight of what is grown where as well as the surplus and deficit status of various commodities at the national as well as state level. The Minister of State Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti said that the food processing sector is growing at an annual rate of 8.4 per cent and also provides great opportunities FDI.
She said that last year this sector attracted an investment of USD 4 billion. The MoS suggested that seminars should be held in each districts to apprise people about the activities under the food processing sector. Sharing his thoughts at the conference, Shri Suresh Prabhu, Railways Minister said, “We must bring more investment and finance into the Food Processing industry to give the sector a fillip. There must be an integrated approach to boosting agri-growth. We are also working on developing a multi-modal transport system in India, which will help transportation of food produce across the country, thereby enabling better price discovery for farmers and agriculturists.”