Highlight the potential, significance of food processing sector in India. Also mention the issues that have plagued the development of this sector.

Food processing sector represents the sunshine sector contributing to over 13% of our GDP and 1/3rd of total food market.

Potential:

  1. Consumer demand –
    • High growth in organic sector.
    • Rise in middle class, increasing consumerism and income.
  2. Favourable climatic conditions –
    • 46 out of 60 soil types are present in India.
    • Over 100 agro climatic zone types.
  3. Natural strength –
    • Leader in production of milk (22% of world produce), spices, mango, etc.
    • Net exporter of agricultural produce since 1991.
  4. Favourable regulatory environment such as 100% FDI, PM-SAMPADA.

Significance:

  • Crucial for industrial growth due to backward and forward linkages.
  • Ensure income security (target of doubling farmer’s income by 2022).
  • Promote diversification in agricultural basket (e.g. larger share of organic food, cereals, millets).
  • Employment generation & entrepreneurship.
  • Export led growth of agricultural sector (current share less than 2.5% of total world trade).

Challenges:

  • Highly informal industry.
  • Inadequate infrastructure like cold storage, supply chain.
  • Lack of trained workforce.
  • High post harvest loss.

Way forward:

  • Increased investment such as PM-SAMPADA.
  • Promoting farmer production organization.
  • Channelize one district – one product policy.
  • Training of manpower – specialized courses on agri-processing in higher institutes.

Food processing sector holds unbound potential to promote export-led growth along with realising goal of doubling farmer’s income.

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