Economy

Industry urges Centre to formulate National Food Processing Policy

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on January 12, 2020 Published on January 12, 2020

The model policy will strengthen the value-addition ecosystem for agri-produce   -  BL

Seeks extension of SAMPADA benefits beyond food parks

The food processing industry has urged the government to formulate a model National Food Processing Policy with the aim of increasing farmers’ incomes and strengthening the value-addition ecosystem for agri-produce in the country.

Currently, while some states have enacted their own food processing policies, others have integrated their food processing sector policy with their industrial policy.

According to the pre-Budget recommendations submitted to the Government by the food processing industry under the aegis of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), formulation of a comprehensive National Model Food Processing Policy for states to adopt will help capitalise on the diverse food production base and encourage investments in the sector. “The policy should lead to ease of doing business, alignment between the central and state policies and procedures, empowerment of farmers and overall growth of the sector,” CII added.

For a level-playing field

The industry chamber has also asked the government to extend the benefits of some of the schemes formulated for the food processing industry, beyond the food parks.

A special fund has been set up by the government with a corpus of ₹2,000 crore, to enable National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) to provide affordable credit to entrepreneurs to set up new food processing units or modernise existing food processing units in the designated food parks.

“However, limiting the funding assistance only to units in designated food parks is an inhibiting factor. The government should extend this facility to all food processing units to create a level-playing field.

“Similarly, the low-interest finance and other benefits of the SAMPADA scheme of Ministry of Food Processing should be extended to industry outside mega food parks,” CII said in its pre-Budget recommendations.

Sops to promote expansion

The Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters (SAMPADA) is an umbrella scheme which incorporates various initiatives and schemes of the Ministry of Food Processing aimed at promoting expansion of food processing and preservation capacities, cold-chain infrastructure, mega food parks and agro-processing clusters.

Among other recommendations, the industry chamber has also urged the government to ensure that export incentives for agri-products are in line with those extended to some other sectors.

Referring to the Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Products (RoDTEP) scheme, CII has recommended that, “RoDTEP rates for agri-products should be fixed 2 per cent higher than the current MEIS (Merchandise Exports from India Scheme) rates”.

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Published on January 12, 2020
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