India plans African food processing cluster by 2015

By Ankush Chibber

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags India

Following the lead of others countries, including China, which are looking towards Africa for their food demands, India has given a green light to set up a food processing cluster in the region.

The cluster, in which India would invest US$24m, is part of the US$5bn credit line India extended to Africa at the India-Africa summit in 2011, a spokesperson for the ministry of food processing industries told FoodNavigator-Asia.

“The investment would go into setting up the infrastructure on the lines of the food parks in India. We would set up cold storage, food testing labs, warehouses pre-designed factories, and other common infrastructure,”​ he said.

Beyond traditional trade partners

The investment would be phased in over the next three years, with the final completion date set for 2015.“Of course, we will not go into this alone. We would float a tender for a project manager [firm] that will implement the project.”

While the location has not yet been fixed, the government is endeavoring to ensure that the cluster benefits more than one or two countries and also that India goes beyond its traditional trade partners in the region.

“The location would require consultation from the African Union, but we want a region that has good connectivity to export markets in Europe and North America, as well as India. That is how we will be able to attract industry,”​ he said.

Two regions are being actively considered. The first being a regional group comprising Angola, Namibia, and Botswana; the other being an east African cluster of Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Tanzania, he revealed.

Horticulture focus

According to the spokesperson, no particular food focus has been confirmed, although the ministry is, “primarily looking at processing horticulture produce.”

“Our aim would be to attract companies, especially Indian ones, to set up shop in the cluster. This cluster would give them access to cheap raw material, and a closer base to serve the African, European, and other markets,”​ he remarked.

Eventually, the spokesperson said, the success of this cluster would lay the foundation for others in the region, which would also aid the long term food security of India.

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