Focus on food processing

Source: Business Standard

Relevance:  issues related to Food processing sector in India

Synopsis: If India intends to catch up with developed countries where a sizeable part of the produce is processed to add value, then the government needs to address the constraints faced by the food processing industry swiftly.


Of late, the food processing sector is clocking double-digit annual growth. Proactive Governments policy and measures are one of the major reasons for the growth of Food processing sector in India.

However, there is a lot more that needs to be done, as the food processing industry still faces some formidable constraints.

Government measures 

Govt has taken various measures for development of food processing sector:

  • The government in recent years have incentivised private investment in the food processing sector to facilitate value-addition of farm produce and reduce its wastage.
  • The government’s production-linked incentive has facilitated the availability of world-class food products for the domestic and export market. It will also help in building of global brands to boost exports, which are already rising rapidly but still have untapped potential.
  • Another well-thought-out scheme, the one-district-one-product, aims at promoting micro food processing units to capitalize on the popularity of local food products.
Constraints faced 

The key constraints faced by food processing industry include:

  • Various limitations of supply chain infrastructure
  • Seasonal production
  • Lack of preliminary farm level freshness-retaining treatment
  • Small scale of production
  • A lack of focus on quality, and
  • Compulsion to source the raw material through the mandis run by the agricultural produce marketing committees (APMCs)
Way forward

Need to focus on food preservation techniques

In a country like India where a sizeable part of the population lives in tiny villages with no or difficult access to the market, food preservation is as important as food processing.

  • Food preservation has, in fact, been traditionally practised as a means of stretching the availability of seasonal foods in India. Conventional techniques like dehydration (sun drying), pickling (salted pickles or sweetened Murrabas) continue to be the chief methods of food preservation.

There is a need for greater research and development effort to refine the preservation methods to retain the quality and safety of preserved foods by preventing their contamination by hazardous bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms.

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