India draws Food Map to steer its food processing industry, exports

The map developed in association with Yes Bank is likely to help kickstart several government initiatives to boost food processing industry in India and processed food exports

 The Dollar Business Bureau

Russia Vegetable Imports - The Dollar Business Value addition in fruits and vegetables in India stands at around 2%, and wastage is as high as 18%

  India’s Ministry of Food Processing Industries has released the much awaited Food Map of India, a database which will be used to develop a Food Grid and to implement a slew of measures the government is planning to transform the growing food processing sector in India. India is already a leader in several food exports, including agricultural products, seafood, spices, and meat. However, experts say that there is immense growth potential for processed food exports by India considering that value-addition in Food Processing in India stands at a mere 2%. Moreover, lack of processing and marketing means that most of the exports is done without much value-addition and is vulnerable to wastage and severe price fluctuations. As per estimates, up to 18% of fruits and vegetables produced in India is wasted due to lack of processing and adequate storage facilities. The government has several plans to transform this sector with the help of manufacturing clusters and food parks. The government has, under its infrastructure development plans, approved five Mega Food Parks during June – December 2014 and has approved sanctioning of 42 projects. Ten cold chain projects has also been completed in the same period, and three abattoirs in Hyderabad, Vishakhapatnam and Edyar are likely to begin operations in 2015. The government has also established a special fund valued at around Rs.2,000 crore set up in National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to provide affordable credit to the food processing units to be set up in the designated Food Parks. However, most of the plans were waiting for the development of the Food Map for implementation. All these measures are expected to begin soon with the release of the Food Map. “Idea is to identify the surplus and deficient areas in the country of various agricultural and horticultural produce so as to plan processing clusters by means of setting up processing facilities under current schemes,” said the Ministry of Food processing Industries, Government of India. The “Fruits & Vegetables Availability Maps of India” has been developed by Food and Agribusiness Strategic Advisory & Research (FASAR) and YES BANK. Rana Kapoor, MD & CEO, Yes Bank, said that Food Processing is a $180 billion industry in India, and growing annually at close to 9%. It also accounts for around 13% of the national exports and employs 60% of India’s working population directly or indirectly. Kapoor said, “It has all the ingredients to catapult India into a virtuous cycle of sustainable development, inclusive growth and lower food inflation. However, with only 3% of the overall gross bank credit, 2.6% of overall FDI inflows and a mere $28 billion of fixed capital deployment, the true potential of this highly significant sector still remains untapped.”  

This article was published on December 30, 2014.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Dec 30, 2014 12:00 IST