Speaking at the opening of a food show in Mumbai, minister of food processing industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal said the government’s aim is to treble India’s food manufacturing capacity from its current level of just 10% of agricultural produce.
To do this, it would complete the INR60bn (US$932m) mega food project as part of her ministry's Sampada scheme, announced in April, which was designed to modernise the industry and reduce waste.
“From 2008 to 2014, when this government took over, I was very surprised to see that out of 42 sanctioned mega parks, only two had been operationalised,” Badal said.
“We have already operationalised six of these mega parks in two years.”
According to ministry guidelines, it should take only two years to make a sanctioned food park operational, she added.
The government is also betting on the 101 cold chain projects it rubber stamped in March to give an additional boost to food processing capacity.
“A hundred cold chains have been set up already, and in the next 18-24 months, 101 more cold chain projects will be ready,” Badal said.
The ministry expects these investments to add 334m tonnes of processing capacity, worth nearly INR1tr. They are expected to create 500,000 jobs, and benefit a further 2m farmers.