New Delhi, Nov 3: Prime Minister, Narendra Modi Friday inaugurated the second edition of the Mega food event ‘World Food India 2023’ at Bharat Mandapam, Pragati Maidan, in New Delhi. He disbursed Seed Capital Assistance for over one lakh SHG members to strengthen Self Help Groups. Modi also took a walkthrough of the exhibition showcased on the occasion. The event aims to showcase India as the ‘food basket of the world’ and celebrate 2023 as the International Year of Millets.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister hailed the technology and startup pavilion and food street showcased on the occasion and said that the fusion of technology and taste will pave the way for the economy of the future. In the changing world of today, the Prime Minister highlighted one of the prime challenges of food security and underlined the significance of World Food India 2023.
Prime Minister Modi underlined that the outcomes of World Food India are a huge example of India’s food processing sector being recognized as the ‘sunrise sector’. In the last 9 years, the Prime Minister informed that the sector has attracted foreign direct investment of more than Rs 50,000 crores as a result of the government’s pro-industry and pro-farmer policies. Throwing light on the PLI scheme in the food processing sector, the Prime Minister said that it is providing huge assistance to the new players in the industry. He mentioned that work is underway on thousands of projects under the Agri-Infra Fund for post-harvest infrastructure with an approximate investment of more than Rs 50,000 crores while processing infrastructure in the fisheries and animal husbandry sector is also being encouraged with an investment of thousands of crores.
“The investor-friendly policies by the government are taking the food sector to new heights”, Modi remarked. In the last 9 years, the Prime Minister informed that the share of processed foods in India’s agricultural exports has grown from 13 percent to 23 percent, making an overall increase of 150 percent of exported processed foods. “Today, India stands at the 7th position with an overall export value of more than 50,000 million USD in agricultural produce”, he informed. He underlined that there is no sector in the food processing industry where India has not shown unprecedented growth and said that it is a golden opportunity for every company and start-up associated with the food processing industry.
Prime Minister Modi credited the consistent and dedicated efforts by the government behind the speedy and rapid growth in India’s food processing industry. He mentioned the creation of Agri-Export Policy for the first time in India, the development of nationwide logistics and infrastructure, the creation of more than 100 district-level hubs connecting the district to the global markets, increase in the number of Mega Food Parks from 2 to more than 20, and India’s food processing capacity increasing from 12 lakh metric tonnes to more than 200 lakh metric tonnes, which is a 15 time increase in the last 9 years. The Prime Minister gave examples of agricultural produce that are being exported from India for the first time and mentioned black garlic from Himachal Pradesh, dragon fruit from Jammu & Kashmir, soya milk powder from Madhya Pradesh, Karkitchoo apples from Ladakh, Cavendish banana from Punjab, Gucchi Mushrooms from Jammu, and Raw honey from Karnataka.
Noting the rapid urbanization of India, the Prime Minister drew attention to the increasing demand for packaged food creating unexplored opportunities for farmers, start-ups and small entrepreneurs. Modi emphasized the need for ambitious planning to make full use of these possibilities
The Prime Minister underlined the three main pillars of India’s growth story in the food processing sector – small farmers, small industries, and women. He highlighted the effective usage of Farmer Produce Organizations or FPOs as a platform to increase the participation and profits of small farmers. “We are making 10 thousand new FPOs in India, out of which 7 thousand have already been made”, he informed. He noted the increased market access and availability of processing facilities for farmers and also informed that about 2 lakh micro enterprises are being organized in the food processing industry to increase the participation of Small Scale Industries. “Schemes like ‘One District One Product’- ODOP are also giving a new identity to small farmers and small industries”, he added.
Throwing light on the path of women-led development in India, the Prime Minister highlighted the increasing contributions of women to the economy thereby benefiting the food processing industry. He informed that more than 9 crore women in India are associated with self-help groups today. Underlining that women have taken the lead in food science in India for thousands of years, the Prime Minister said that the food variety and food diversity in India is a result of the skills and knowledge of Indian women. He stated that women have been running the market of many products like pickles, papads, chips, murabba etc. from their homes. “Indian women have the natural ability to lead the food processing industry”, Modi remarked as he informed that cottage industries and self-help groups are being promoted at every level for women. PM Modi mentioned disbursing seed capital worth crores of rupees to more than 1 lakh women on today’s occasion.
“There is as much food diversity in India as there is cultural diversity. India’s food diversity is a dividend for every investor in the world”, the Prime Minister remarked. Noting the increased interest in curiosity towards India, the Prime Minister emphasized that the food industry around the world has a lot to learn from the food traditions of India. He said that India’s sustainable food culture is the result of thousands of years of its development journey. Throwing light on the evolution of India’s sustainable food culture over thousands of years, the Prime Minister underlined that India’s ancestors linked food habits with Ayurveda. “In Ayurveda, it is said ‘Rita-Bhuk’ i.e. eating according to the season, ‘Mit Bhuk’ i.e. balanced diet, and ‘Hit Bhuk’ i.e. healthy foods, these are important parts of India’s scientific understanding”, he explained. He also noted the perpetual impact of trade in food grains, especially spices from India on the world. Speaking about Global Food Security, the Prime Minister stressed the need for the food processing industry to understand and implement the ancient knowledge of sustainable and healthy food habits. Shri Modi acknowledged the world celebrating 2023 as the International Year of Millets. “Millets are a part of India’s ‘superfood bucket’ and the government has identified it as Shri Anna”, Modi said. Even though millets were given great priority in most civilizations for centuries, the Prime Minister pointed out that it had made its way out of the food habit in many countries including India in the last few decades, thereby causing huge damage to global health, sustainable farming as well as sustainable economy. “On India’s initiative, an awareness campaign regarding millets has started in the world”, the Prime Minister said expressing confidence that millets reach every corner of the world similar to the impact of International Yoga Day. He mentioned dishes made from millets for dignitaries visiting India during the recent G-20 summit as well as the availability of processed food items made from millets in the market. Prime Minister Modi urged the dignitaries on the occasion to discuss ways to increase the share of Shri Anna and prepare a collective roadmap for the benefit of the industry and the farmers.
Modi said that the G-20 group has emphasized sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition security in the Delhi declaration, and highlighted the role of all partners associated with food processing. He stressed moving the food distribution program towards a diversified food basket and eventually minimizing post-harvest losses. He also stressed reducing wastage by making use of technology. He urged to increase the processing of perishable products to reduce wastage, thereby benefiting farmers and preventing price fluctuations. Concluding the address, the Prime Minister underlined the need to strike a balance between the interests of farmers and consumers’ satisfaction. He expressed confidence that the conclusions drawn here will lay the foundation of a sustainable and food-secure future for the world.
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