Addressing an industry event in New Delhi, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, a leading campaigner for foreign investment, said she had assured the prime minister that FDI would “give the push and the thrust to create that infrastructure which will help the industry prosper”.
“This is in the interest of both consumers and farmers as it will bring down food inflation create more jobs and lead to rapid infrastructure development,” said Badal.
Citing an “urgent need” to promote policies that give a boost to the food processing sector, the minister said FDI in multi-brand retail had already been implemented across India to the benefit of farmers and traders. This, she urged, should be extended to food items to attract foreign companies to India.
“The globally established brands and multinational companies will promote technology transfer, something which has been missing in India due to lack of infrastructure,” Badal said, adding that such a move would also reduce inflation and wastage.
With government figures suggesting that almost 16% of farm produce, worth over Rs92,000 crore (US$13bn), is wasted each year due to lack of infrastructure, the minister stressed the need for demand-driven agricultural policies and and supply chain development.
She also highlighted the ruling Bharatiya Janata party’s record in promoting food manufacturing. Compared to just two new food parks in six years under the previous Congress-led government, the BJP had implemented three “mega food parks” in its first year in power, Badal said.
She added that four more had been planned to open by the end of this year, to be followed by a further four or five parks in 2017.