Speaking at a workshop organised by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Dr P. Subbian, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University registrar said that indigenised production of enzymes and microbes was a must for the industry.
“Scientists must intensify their research on developing enzymes and microbes for effective processing and preservation of food and beverages,” said Subbian, remarking that the resources were there.
Subbian pointed out that while in the larger food and beverage space, Indian entrepreneurs were making huge strides in terms of export volume they were still playing fiddle to foreign imports in terms of microbes and enzymes.
“They are importing enzymes in spite of the raw materials such as molasses, barley, maize, grapes and potatoes among others being available in adequate quantity in the country,” he said.
Subbian dismissed the theory that India does not have enough processing facilities pointing out that there are 4,000 small and large-scale processing units in the country.
“However, they process only 2.5% of the total fruits and vegetables against 40-85% in developed countries. In terms of value-addition, only 7% of the produce is value-added in India against 23% in China and 45% in the Philippines,” he said.
Comparing India to a much smaller rice producing country, Subbian said that it was remarkable that Japan, which produces only 2% of the world's production of paddy, produces 50 value-added products from paddy derivatives.
“This indicates that we are far behind in value-addition and processing,” he added.