Food processing is done to make new products out of existing primary food products and also to increase their shelf-life so that it stays fresh for longer.
According to PIB, the Food Processing Sector has emerged as an important segment of the Indian economy and it constitutes as much as 9.9 percent and 11.4 percent share of GVA in Manufacturing and Agriculture sector respectively in 2019-20 at 2011-12 prices. The sector is an important source of direct and indirect employment, accounting for around 14% of formal employment.
Scope of food processing industry in India
India holds the sixth-largest food and grocery market in the world.
Globally India holds the number 1 ranking in producing some of the major products like mango, papaya, banana, milk, ginger, guava, etc. Also, India is a mass producer of sugar, cashew nuts, potato, rice, wheat, etc
Spices are among one of the most exported food products of India. With the help of FPIs India is making processed spices that can easily be transported with a shelf life of more than a year.
The diverse climatic condition and availability of different kinds of soil help India produce different kinds of food throughout the year. Additionally, the numerous sea coasts, rivers, and lakes cater to the supply of non-vegetarian food items.
Establishing FPIs in rural areas of India provides cheap labour as more than 50% of its population is employed in the agricultural sector.
Significance of food processing industry in India
Enhance farmer’s income by better utilisation and value addition of agricultural produce.
Minimize wastage at all stages in the food processing chain by the development of infrastructure for storage, transportation and processing of agro-food produce.
Promote export of processed food products: Due to its longer shelf life, processed food can be smoothly exported to different parts of the world.
Generate Employment: it acts as a bridge between Agriculture and Manufacturing and hence helps in smooth transitioning of labourers from Agriculture towards manufacturing.
Reduce malnutrition: Processed foods when fortified with vitamins and minerals can reduce the nutritional gap in the population.
The need of the hour is significant increase in investment for strengthening supply chain infrastructure and improving competitiveness through technology upgradation, Research & Development, Branding and strengthening India’s USP in food sector.