Food processing sector set to receive boost
Esther Suhasini | 18 09 2013 11:46:16 AM IST
New Delhi, Sept 18 (KNN) To seek solutions to problems being encountered by the food processing sector, a national level conference of state ministers of food processing industries (FPI) will be held on September-20.
Agriculture and FPI Minister, Sharad Pawar will inaugurate the conference and launch an e-portal on the high potential food processing sector.
One of the key areas for discussion during the conference will be the utilization of funds available under the National Mission on Food Processing and other schemes. Launched in 2012, the mission is the umbrella programme for a number of promotional activities for food processing.
According to the notification, many states have not been able to properly utilize funds allocated to them in 2012-13 and this year.
The conference will also seek views of state ministers on how to implement Plan Schemes more effectively. Their participation is vital for proper implementation of the schemes. In addition, the Conference is likely to find solutions to constraints faced by states and address their concerns.
Among other topics to be discussed are matters relating to taxation – especially mandi tax on processed food and market reforms.
Growing at a rapid pace, the food processing sector has been providing employment to a significant number of people. In the five years ending 2011-12, it grew at an average annual rate of 8.6 per cent; during this period, the manufacturing sector grew at 7.7 per cent and agriculture at 3.8 per cent per year.
In 2011, nearly 17 lakh people were employed by food processing industries and another 48 lakh in the unorganized food processing activities.
The FPI Ministry runs programmes under which assistance is given for a range of activities including setting up of Mega Food Parks and cold chain infrastructure, modernizing abattoirs, upgrading food testing labs and quality control.