“The theme would be transforming `India’s Food Economy` with the entire gamut of stakeholders beginning from food machinery, retailers, processors, logistics providers and progressive farmers. Unlike Vietnam and Thailand that process 70% of their agricultural produce, India processes only 10% of its farm produce. This results in lower realisation for farmers and higher prices for the consumers, which we intend to overcome,” Harsimrat Kaur Badal said addressing a conglomerate of domestic and overseas retailers on the 2nd day of the India Retail Forum 2016.
To facilitate the wastage in the logistic space, the government is planning to set up a cold chain grid across the country as also establish food testing labs, she said.
“Having allowed foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, there is an increased interest to invest in India’s food sector. Of the 38,000 queries that the Invest India team received, 18,000 pertained to the food sector,” she said.
Global retailers and processors are willing to get into JVs to tap and source India’s substantial raw material base. Food processing is gaining significance as Indian spent 40% of their wallet on food and time spent in the kitchen is reducing. If my grandmother spent six hours in the kitchen, my mother spent around three years and the next generation may spent around 2 hours due to rising processed food component, she said.
Of the 42 food parks sanctioned by the previous government, only two were operational. We have now commissioned six more and hope to add four more to the list by the end of the year. The balance 37 food parks will be commissioned within the next 24 months while three food parks which have been surrendered will be re-allocated, she said.