The Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) said it is also planning to invest one trillion rupees (€14bn) in the sector by 2015 in a bid to create as many as 10 million new jobs. Minister Shri Sahai declared he wanted to more than treble India’s food processing industry over the next five years and double its share of global trade to three per cent.
Food processing key
The government declared it wanted to put promotion of the food processing industry at the heart of its plans to revitalise India’s agricultural sector and drive the economy.
“The Ministry believes such growth will transform India by making agriculture viable, ensuring inclusive growth and reducing mass poverty,” said an official statement
Sahai added: “After the Green Revolution, we are now ushering in the evergreen revolution in the country. Processing is an evergreen activity. It's the key to the agricultural sector.”
The start ups would take in processing from across the food sector, including meat, fruit, vegetable, dairy, grain and the consumer food segment. MoFI said it would provide a subsidy of up to 25 per cent - up to a maximum of five million rupees – of the initial costs.
Sahai said there was an urgent need for 100,000 trained workers and revealed proposals to bring a further one million on-stream by 2015, along with 500,000 women entrepreneurs. He added the first phase of the National Institute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) would also be inaugurated over the next 100 days to act as a key training institution to provide the skills for the burgeoning industry.
The government also said it had plans to commission two integrated cold chain projects within 100 days and the initial processing unit in the country’s first Mega Food Park - one of 10 such proposed processing hubs over the next two years.
The minister reiterated his desire for the government to grant a tax holiday for all food processing units, as well as a reduction in VAT and customs duties on food products, raw materials, machinery and packaging used by the sector.