FDI in Food Processing Touched USD 1 Billion: Harsimrat Kaur Badal

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The foreign direct investment (FDI) in food processing sector has already touched the USD 1-billion mark so far this year, said Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Food Processing Minister.

Speaking at the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) event on post harvest and logistics, Badal said “We touched USD 1-billion mark. This is a tip of the iceberg; we have to go a long way.”

According to the official data, FDI in the food processing sector was USD 904.9 million in the 2017-18 fiscal, while it was around USD 727.22 million, USD 505.88 million and USD 515.86 million in 2016-17, 2015-16 and 2014-15, respectively.

She said that FDI in multi-brand retail was allowed keeping in mind the need to boost the food processing level and provide an alternative market to farmers to sell their produce.

The objective was solely to make retailers directly procure farm produce from farmers, she added.

About USD 14 billion that was committed during the World Food India 2017 for next few years, the minister said, “I am happy to share that 70 per cent of the projects have already started the grounding.”

With this, processing levels will grow and thus food wastages will also reduce which is estimated to be Rs 1 lakh crore per year, Badal added.

Talking about domestic investment, National Rainfed Area Authority (NREA) CEO Ashok Dalwai said, that captive investment in agriculture has not really happened through a corporate sector, which is pre-requisite for growth.

In this regard, the government has not tailored any policy that suits the requirement, he added.

Also, there has been a captive investment in industry and services sector since liberalization in 1991 but agriculture, which is the primary economic activity and in a way it is the economic sector which generates the demand for services and industry sectors, was not subjected to the liberalization.

But in the last four years, emphasize has been on bringing in reforms in the sector and make it a private sector enterprise, said Dalwai.

The government has been focusing on post-harvest management and logistics, he added.

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