Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) virtually inaugurated the CII India – International Food & Agri Week being organised from October 16-22, 2020. Addressing the inaugural session, Tomar said that Indian food processing sector was 32 percent of India’s food market. He said that the focus of this agro and food tech was the use of technology in the field of food and agriculture sector to increase the income of farmers.
Speaking on the potential of food and agriculture sector, Tomar added that India’s agriculture and rural economy was very robust. He said that proper marketing and latest technology could lead to greater development of the agriculture sector and significant steps had been taken in this direction under the leadership of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He added that GDP growth rate in agriculture was 3.4 percent and this sector had contributed hugely to India’s economic growth even during COVID-19 pandemic. MoFPI has started an awareness campaign named ‘Anna Devo Bhava’ to mark this occasion. He stressed that along with increasing awareness about the value of food we must also focus on reducing food wastage.
Explaining the initiatives of MOFPI, he shared that under Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, MoFPI had started PMFME (PM Formalisation of Micro Food Enterprises) scheme with an outlay of Rs 20,000 crore. This scheme would support two lakh micro food processing units with credit linked subsidy and would focus on supporting the SHGs (self-help-groups), FPOs (farmer producer organisations) and cottage industry. Union Minister said that MoFPI was working with Commerce Ministry which had shortlisted ready-to-eat food and fruits and vegetables for its export markets. Government is moving towards branding of food products and creation of market development board.
Tomar shared that MoFPI had started PM Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY) for modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management from farm-gate to retail outlets. MFP scheme is an important element of PMKSY whose objective is to link agricultural production to the market by bringing together the farmers, processors and retailers. As of now 37 MFPs have been approved out of which 20 have begun operations. Ministry has expanded the operation greens scheme from TOP to TOTAL. Under this scheme, Ministry will provide 50 percent subsidy for transportation of eligible crops from surplus production cluster to consumption centre for six months and/or hiring of appropriate storage facilities for eligible crops (for maximum period of 3 months)
Addressing the 14th edition of the Agro and Food Tech, Tomar added that it is an appropriate platform to showcase the products, services and technology available in the agriculture and related sectors. He said that all stakeholders present at this event would benefit from the latest technologies, solutions and opportunities presented in the event.