The Organic Food festival would provide an opportunity to women entrepreneurs for capacity building and economic empowerment, said Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Smt Harsimrat Kaur Badal. Inaugurating the 3-day long festival in New Delhi today, the Union Minister highlighted the need for providing such platforms on regular basis for financial inclusion and empowerment of women and said that the Government is planning to hold Organic food festivals more frequently and in different parts of the country depending on unique organic products of particular region.The Organic Food Festival was jointly inaugurated by Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union Minister for Food Processing Industries and Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Minister for Women and Child Development and Textiles. Shri Rameshwar Teli, Minister of State for Food Processing Industries and Smt. Debasree Chaudhuri, Minister of State for Woman and Child Development were also present. The Organic Food Festival for Women Entrepreneurs is as an outcome of the MoU (which aims at building capacities of women entrepreneurs) signed between the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) and Ministry of Women and Child Development (M/o WCD).Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal said India has huge potential for organic produce and market. She added that most of the hilly areas and tribal areas in India are naturally organic. The FPI Minister said that while other parts of world are making special efforts to turn towards organic production, India has natural advantages which must be leveraged. She further said that this organic festival can be of international scale in near future.Smt. Smriti Irani said that Ministry of Food Processing Industries can, through the Organic Food Festival, engage with technology groups so that latest technology can be made available to women entrepreneurs.
Pushpa Subrahmanyam, Secretary, FPI said that Ministry of FPI will showcase achievements of women entrepreneurs through this festival. She said that Food and Beverage industry in India is fifth largest sector in manufacturing and that, India has the highest number of organic producers in the world.Spread over an area of 6000 sqms of space, this is the first such event where 180+ women entrepreneurs and self-help groups are participating from over 25 States and Union Territories with very interesting products on display from across the country. These are indigenous to the geography and are otherwise difficult to access. Kiwi from Arunachal Pradesh, Black wheat, pesto Sauce from Ladakh, chia seeds cookies and apricot oil from Uttarakhand are all available with the exhibitors and the people can relish these healthy products. This festival will strive to provide linkages to women producers to market and supply chains, thereby facilitating their financial inclusion.The festival is open to public who can relish numerous varieties of the organic and healthy products of various states. People will also gain knowledge about the organic products grown and produced in different regions of India. The festival is being organized by National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as the Industry Partner, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi from 21st – 23rd February 2020. Training and capacity building of women entrepreneurs and SHGs is another key focus area and trainings on Post harvest management, product innovation, packaging and certification processes are being organized over the 3 days. The efforts are targeted towards helping producers understand importance of each step of the organic value chain and develop competence to cater to a broader consumer base. With focus on innovation, a specially curated ‘Innovation Pavilion’ is set up to display innovative organic foods, packaging solutions and machinery. Leading research institutes from the country IIFPT, NIFTEM CFTRI, CIFT, Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology, C-DAC are exhibiting in the pavilion to generate interface with the solutions available and identify solutions that suit the requirement of the entrepreneurs and SHGs to help them diversify their product portfolio. For facilitating business linkages and empowering women entrepreneurs through financial inclusion, over 200 B2B meetings are being facilitated by CII.
Other interesting elements of the show include interactive session with renowned Chefs on how organic ingredients can be incorporated in our daily diets. There is also an opportunity to hear from successful women entrepreneur led companies that are not only helping farmers grow organic produce but also helping with certification and enabling the buy-back of their produce. These successes and best practices will offer learnings to other entrepreneurs on possible expansion avenues.The overall effort is targeted towards strengthening ‘Organic’ Branding for India by enhancing direct linkage of local producers with Buyers, enhancing processing potential of organic output and contribute to India’s vision of enhancing export competitiveness and Create a direct impact to women farmer incomes and in turn empowerment.With 9th largest World’s Organic Agricultural land and largest number of producers India is fast growing in the organic food segment( http://apeda.gov.in/apedawebsite/organic/Organic_Products.htm. According to a report by APEDA, India produced around 1.70 million MT (2017-18) of certified organic products which includes all varieties of food products namely Oil Seeds, Sugar cane, Cereals & Millets, Cotton, Pulses, Medicinal Plants, Tea, Fruits, Spices, Dry Fruits, Vegetables, Coffee etc. On the demand side, increasing disposable incomes, increasing awareness around health and wellness and increasing acceptability are driving the growth in the organic food segment which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10% during the period 2016-21 as per WFI report. The demand for Indian organic food products is on constant increase worldwide with India exporting organic products worth $ 515 million in 2017-18(based on APEDA report). Organic products mainly oil seeds, cereals & millets, sugar, fruit juice concentrates, tea, spices, pulses, dry fruits, medicinal plant products etc. are being exported to USA, European Union, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, Israel, South Korea, Vietnam, New Zealand and Japan.Shri Rabindra Panwar, Secretary, WCD, Smt. Reema Prakash, JS, FPI, Dr. Chindi Vasudevappa, Vice Chancelor, NIFTEM, Shri Chandrajit Banerjee, DG CII, were also present during the event.