India’s trade minister says government working on farm export strategy that gives primacy to value addition and jobs

India’s Minister for Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu announced that the government was working on an agriculture export strategy that would give primacy to value addition and job creation.

He emphasised on the potential of marine products export, for which the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) had been given specific targets for value added exports.

India’s Minister for Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu

Inaugurating the latest edition of the FICCI Foodworld India 2018, Prabhu urged the food processing industry professionals to develop food items that appeal to the palates of the consumers in export markets.

This segment needs to be exploited aggressively apart from exporting Indian food products for use by Indians overseas, he said.

Processed, ready-to-eat food, produced under good regulation with regard to safety and standards, Prabhu said, was a great opportunity for the manufacturing sector with the attendant beneficial effect on downstream industries.

According to JP Meena, Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries,  while the availability of credit to food processing units was a challenge, the government was looking at the feasibility of having sector-specific financial institutions to take care of the credit requirements. The government would look for partnerships with the industry to resolve the issue, he added.

Meena said indigenous production of machinery and equipment required by the industry has remained a grey area. In this regard, industry should provide relevant inputs to R&D institutions so that mechanisation was in tune with the requirements.

In packaging, the excessive reliance on the use of plastics was an area of concern, he said and added that the time was ripe to develop bio-degradable alternatives to plastics, he added.

Ashish Bahuguna, Chairman, Food Safety Standards Authority of India assured the industry that a spate of regulations on food standards and safety will abate in the next 6 to 12 months. Industry, he said, would be given ample time to align their products and processes seamlessly to the new standards.

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