Agri Business

Food processing sector can be growth engine for rural economy: TNAU V-C

R Yegya Narayanan Coimbatore | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on February 19, 2015

The level of food processing in India has remained very low and the sector has the potential to become an engine of rural economic growth, according to K Ramasamy, Vice-Chancellor, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore.

He urged Indian industry to tap the potential of this sector and replicate the success that the IT companies had achieved globally.

Inaugurating the `Agri and Food Processor Conclave - finance, technology & market’, organised jointly by Assocham and the Ministry of Food Processing Industries here on Thursday, he said the level of food processing in the country was low at 6 per cent, as against 60 to 80 per cent in developed countries. Developing nations in Asia and Latin America also scored over India in this respect, with food processing levels of more than 30 per cent.

Ramasamy was confident that the sector could drive rural economic growth in India. Conceding that the sector faced several headwinds, he said with concerted efforts “India can emerge a leader in the global food processing industry”.

The TNAU VC said the big industrial houses in the country had a significant presence in the food processing sector and urged them to “think big and think globally” about the future of this industry. He was confident of their emerging “as global brand names” just as the IT industry had done on the global arena.

K Singaravadivel, Director, Indian Institute of Crop Processing Technology (IICPT), said Tamil Nadu had the potential to be the “food processing capital of India” as it was the largest producer of banana and tapioca and the second largest producer of coconut and eggs. The State also ranked third among producers of coffee, tea, and sugarcane in India.

E K Ponnuswamy, President, Coimbatore District Small Industries’ Association (CODISSIA), said the food processing sector was beset with constraints in  backward and forward linkages. He urged the state government to play an important role in forging alliances with Central Government bodies, bankers, financial institutions and technical and management institutions.

Surendra Singh, Assistant Industrial Advisor, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, spoke of potential areas for investment in Tamil Nadu, particularly in fruit processing, fruit wines, vegetable and medicinal plants.

K V Rao, Chief General Manager, NABARD, detailed the support extended by his organisation in building rural godowns, strengthening agri-marketing infrastructure, grading and standardisation, agri-clinics and agri-business centres. He said the Finance Minister Arun Jaitely had allocated Rs 2,000 crore to NABARD for the development of the food processing sector.

Ravindra Sannareddy, Chairman, Southern Regional Council, Assocham, said the agro-climatic conditions of Tamil Nadu made it an ideal location for growing agricultural and horticultural crops and for setting up food processing industries. The Centre wanted to give a fillip to this sector by tapping its immense potential in association with the state government.

The workshop aimed at creating awareness about Central and State Government schemes for the nascent industry.

Om S Tyagi, Senior Director, Assocham, described the meeting as a step towards achieving greater gains.

Published on February 19, 2015
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