India’s journey in the 21st century has been one worth celebrating. Our growth story as a nation is adorned with sustained progression, technology, and commitment to sustainability, resilient enterprises, and our global outlook. This exemplary growth has been importantly fuelled by our industries and its many constituent sectors that transform India every day. One of the most promising, dynamic and under highlighted of these is the Indian food processing sector.
Food processing industry in India has had a remarkable growth trajectory in recent years and has the enormous potential for consistent growth ahead. The value addition through processing makes food processing sector one of the key sectors that can transform India’s agricultural landscape and contribute to the push for doubling farmers’ income. In the light of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) of ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns, food waste reduction has been given emphasis. Through innovation in processing techniques, sustainable sourcing, reprocessing and efficient utilisation of agricultural produce, the food processing industry can be the catalyst in food waste reduction, contributing to realisation of multiple SDGs.
Given its consistent high growth rate in recent years and impressive future projections, food processing industry will be one of the critical drivers of India’s economic growth. Government of India has undertaken numerous policy initiatives to augment this sector’s growth.
The Pradhan Mantri Kisan SampadaYojana (PMKSY) is a scheme launched by the union government with the objective of creation of modern infrastructure in the food processing sector. The scheme is expected to leverage substantial investment of around Rs 11,000 crores, creating 5.44 lakh jobs and providing a strong impetus for the food processing industry. The PM Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PMFME) is another centrally sponsored scheme with the objective of helping micro food processing enterprises’ inclusion in the formal sector. With an outlay of Rs 10,000 crores, it undertakes to provide capital linked subsidy to 2,00,000 micro units. Under PMFME, MoUs have been signed with 15 lending banks and project implementation plans for 25 states have been approved. The Union Government also aims to provide financial support to rising Indian food brands through the Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Food Processing Industry (PLISFPI), a Rs 10,900 crores scheme. The scheme is expected to help expand output in food processing sector by Rs 33,000 crores and create 2.5 lakh jobs.
An important initiative highlighting the vision of the Government of India has been ‘World Food India’, a global event with domestic and international participation. The mega event is focused on showcasing India’s potential in the food processing domain to investors, leaders and partners across the globe. The first edition of World Food India (WFI) in 2017 was a remarkable success and welcomed leaders, delegates, and participants from 61countries and 27 states. World Food India, 2017 also turned out to be an unprecedented success in facilitating investments which will induce transformative growth in this industry.
The Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) is set to organize the second edition of World Food India (WFI) in 2023as a truly global event enabling convergence of Indian and global food processing industries. India's food processing industry has significant export potential. Connecting with global industry players, Indian business can tap into these lucrative export markets for processed foods.
The food processing industry is built upon the primary sector as processing starts with agricultural inputs. With the second largest agricultural output in the world, India is in the most comfortable position to sustain very high growth in the food processing sector for years. Also, food processing levels in India hover around 10% which represents massive untapped potential.
Global demand for processed foods is rising at a steady 4% due to increased urbanization, higher incomes, and convenience food preferences. With its large population, increasing income levels, and strong economic growth, India is a promising investment destination, with its food processing industry shining as one of the most reliable sectors.
As India marches towards becoming a $5 trillion economy, the food processing industry is poised to play a pivotal role. With the right mix of innovation, investment, and policy support, it can significantly contribute to this ambitious goal. With World Food India 2023, India’s potential is going to attract unmatched global attention. It is just the right time for domestic and foreign investors and the global food processing industry to tap into Indian food processing potential, forging ahead a better global future with India’s growth story. World Food India 2023 is set to be a landmark event and as the gateway to the Indian food processing industry, addressing global challenges with India’s potential.
(Author is Secretary, Food Processing Industries)