Food processing industry now formed an important segment of the Indian Economy in terms of contribution to GDP, employment and investment, and proved to be a major driver in country's growth in near future.
"FPI contributes as much as 9.0 to 10.0 percent of GDP in agriculture and Manufacturing sector," said J P Meena, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries (GOI), delivering a key note address at National Conference on 'Mega Food Parks' organized by Assocham.
During the last five years, FPI sector has been growing at an Average Annual Growth Rate (AAGR) of around 8.6 percent as compared to around 3.8 percent in agriculture and 7.7 percent in manufacturing, Addl Secretary said.
Mega Food Park creates a synergy between two pillars of the economy-Industry and Agriculture, and it got a huge potential for food processing industry in the country, he said.
As far as Rajasthan is concerned, to make the state self- sufficient and leader in processing of perishables and other food products, the state government along with Centre is launching various schemes for the development of food processing sector in the state, he said.
During the 11th and 12th Plan, till date, a total of 40 Mega Food Park projects (MFPP)have been sanctioned by the Ministry for implementation in different states in the country, he said.
Two of the MFPP -- Ptanajli Food and Herbal Park (Uttarakhand) and Srini Food Park (Andhara Pradesh) have become operational, he said.
Pradeep Wig, Chairman of Assocham Council on Food Processing and Value Addition, said, "FPI is primarily a government sponsored activity in which many of the companies do come up in a number of states, but after passing of time they could not succeed and land acquired for the purpose turned into a real estate business.”
Food processing should be an "autonomous body", like Amul, Pepsi, Hindustan Liver, and the government should support it, Wig, who is Chairman and Designated Partner in Kwality Ice Creams and came all the way from London yesterday, he said.
Farming and value addition were the two main necessities in FPI sector, he said, adding, this should be developed in the states, otherwise survival of the segment in its existing form would be in difficulty.