Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that the food processing industry has emerged as the “sunrise sector” in India and has attracted FDI investments of about Rs 50,000 crore in the past nine years. He emphasised that India’s food diversity is a dividend for global investors. He also urged industry stakeholders to focus on finding solutions for the reduction in post-harvest losses and the usage of better technology for packaging besides promoting a sustainable lifestyle.

Addressing the inaugural session of the second edition of World Food India, the Prime Minister said, “ In India, the food processing sector has emerged as the “Sunrise Sector”. In the past nine years, FDI worth Rs 50,000 crore has come in the food processing sector. This is the result of the Indian government’s pro-industry and pro-farmer policies. India’ investor-friendly policies are taking the food processing sector to new heights.”

He added that the processed food segment’s contribution to agri exports has grown to 23 per cent from 13 per cent in the past nine years. The PM also pointed out that exports of food processed have grown by 150 per cent. Today, India exports $50,000 million worth of agro-exports and ranks seventh globally, he added.

“ India has achieved remarkable progress in every sector of the food processing industry. This growth presents a golden opportunity for every company and start-up associated with the food sector,” he added. 

Modi pointed out that the “speedy and rapid” growth has been supported by the government’s “consistent and dedicated” efforts. He listed various measures to support the sector, such as the PLI scheme, framing of agri export policy, focus on developing nationwide logistics and infra network and development of over 100 district-level export hubs. These measures have helped increase domestic processing capacity by 15 times to 200 lakh metric tonnes in the past nine years, he stated. The country also now has more than 20 mega food parks.

“ Growing urbanisation has led to an increase in demand for packaged food products. This is helping create unexplored opportunities for our farmers, start-ups and small and medium enterprises. I urge you to have ambitious growth plans in line with these possibilities,” Modi added.

He stated that India’s small farmers, small businesses and women are the three pillars of India’s growth story in the food processing sector. The government focuses  on creating 10,000 FPOs while two lakh micro-enterprises are being supported through the PMFME scheme.

 The PM also disbursed seed capital assistance to over one lakh Self Help Groups (SHGs) and congratulated women for playing a key role in the food sector’s growth and diversity. “ There is as much food diversity in India as there is cultural diversity. India’s food diversity is a dividend for every investor in the world.” he added.

Stating that India’s sustainable food culture has evolved over thousands of years, he added that “our ancestors” linked food habits to Ayurveda. “ With growing concerns about global food security and health, it is important that our food processing industry should know more about our ancient sustainable and healthy food habits. For instance: Millets are a key component of the ‘superfoods” basket. This year, we are marking the International Year of Millets, and I am confident this will help in growing the reach of millets across the globe,” PM Modi said.

He stressed moving the food distribution program towards a diversified food basket and eventually minimising post-harvest losses.

To lay the foundation of sustainability and food security, the PM urged industry stakeholders to develop a collective roadmap for promoting millet and increasing the processing of perishable products, among others. This will benefit farmers and will curb price fluctuations, he added.