India needs to develop food processing potential, industry group says
India has a great potential to develop its food processing sector and become a preferred destination for food processing industry investors, according to a new report released by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The report predicts that the country could attract $33 billion of investment over the next decade, boosting the national economy and securing high profits.
India's food processing industry can benefit immensely from the growing agriculture sector, the report noted. Other segments that can play a major role for the growth in the industry include horticulture, plantation and fisheries. All these combined can help the food processing industry grow "multifold" in the coming 10 years, according to Nilesh Lele, director of consultancy company Enel Advisors.
Despite the huge potential, the food processing industry is still in its early stages in India. As it develops, it can help curb post-harvest losses in agriculture and make much better use of fruit and vegetables, the report said.
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However, the majority of food processing industry representatives agree that the development of the sector would be impossible without support from the government. According to Ashok Ruhil at Indian Foodtech Ltd., the industry needs incentives, such as tax breaks and subsidies. Initiatives to support food processing businesses would also encourage foreign investments, he noted.
At present, India's food processing industry is mostly oriented toward exports and stood at a total value of about $18.65 billion between April 2012 and March 2013, Food and Beverage News reported.