Policies for food processing sector bearing results: PM


New Delhi : A slew of policies introduced by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for the food processing industry in the country has started bearing results, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said here Tuesday.

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“Our government adopted in 2005 a ‘Vision 2015 – Strategy and Action Plan’ to enhance the level of perishables from 6 percent to 20 percent, to increase value addition from 20 percent to 30 percent and to increase India’s share in global food trade from 2 percent to 3 percent,” Manmohan Singh said while inaugurating here the 1st Conference of State Ministers for Food Processing Industries, organised by the ministry of food Processing Industries (MoFPI).

“Under this broad framework of Vision 2015, the UPA government, in its first term, introduced a slew of supportive policies to meet these goals such as increased focus on agro-based industries in our trade policy, automatic approval for foreign equity up to 100 percent in food processing units and significant customs duty exemptions,” he stated.

Then again, the prime minister said, during the 11th Five-Year Plan, the government initiated major infrastructure development programmes for the sector like the Mega Food Park Scheme, developing cold chain, value addition and preservation infrastructure and modernising the abattoirs in the country.

“These initiatives have yielded some results and the sector has witnessed increases in the processing level and value addition. Despite the economic slowdown, the food processing industry in India grew at an impressive 14.7 percent in 2008-09,” Manmohan Singh said.

While stating that inadequate infrastructure was a major problem faced by the sector, he stated: “But the effects of the flagship Bharat Nirman programme are beginning to be felt on the ground and will I hope transform rural infrastructure in the years ahead. Expanded public investment is also necessary in building rural on-farm infrastructure like primary processing centres, collection centres, cold chain etc.”

The prime minister also called for increased private sector investment in these areas.