A well-developed food processing sector with a higher level of processing helps reduce wastage, improvise value addition, encourage crop diversification, ensure better income for farmers, boost employment along with growth in export earnings, Rameswar Teli, Minister of State for Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), Govt of India today said.
Addressing the inaugural session of India’s 1st Virtual ‘Processed Food Expo’ organised by Ministry of Food Processing Industries in association with FICCI, Teli said that there is a plethora of opportunities in the food processing sector for growth in employment and export potential.
Teli also said that there is a need to develop processing, handling, packaging, storage, and distribution technology for all key processed products to meet domestic and international food regulation standards. Food processing ministry is implementing the R&D plan for the sector. The objective is the commercialisation of the food processing industry. He further added that he was confident that this R&D plan would benefit not only the product and process development but would also aid in the better packaging value chain by value addition in the food processing industry.
Speaking on the occasion, Pushpa Subrahmanyam, Secretary, MoFPI said, the food processing industry is research and innovation based. It is the innovation that drives this sector and determines its path and expansion.
“The ministry has been supporting small innovation projects for developing new products and processes, packaging, testing equipment and more affordable technology for the predominant MSME industry in this sector,” she said.
Subrahmanyam added, the ministry spends about Rs 100 crore for R&D and many more are in the pipeline. “We will continue to focus, particularly now, on waste to wealth technologies, also packaging solutions that are more biodegradable or can be plastic substitutes. The sector sees this as a big challenge, and we would like to put resources to fund these kinds of sustainable solutions to the industry,” she further added.
The MoFPI portal on the Food R&D projects 2021 was launched at the event. This portal presents the outcomes of the R&D works of various institutes involved in food processing and value addition in India. The portal has facilities to explore technological solutions in the form of food product, process and technology and food processing machinery and will also serve as the repository of innovations and technical solutions.
Addressing the Expo, Hemant Malik, Chair- FICCI Food Processing Committee, and CEO-Food Division, ITC said, there is a lot of demand coming in terms of shelf life, microbiological aspects and innovation in packaging. “The R&D for developing food item and packaged food in India will work towards not only extending shelf life but also towards improving nutritional attributes in food items,” he said.
Mohit Anand, Co-Chair- Food Processing Committee, FICCI and Managing Director, Kellogg India & South Asia said that the engagement between the industry and the academia would result in a business matchmaking that is the end objective of the convention. It would also open opportunities for the industry by giving access to knowledge, he said.
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