More needs to be done to reduce wastage in India's food supply chain, the country's food processing minister said last week.

Speaking at the inauguration of FoodWorld India in Mumbai, Harsimrat Kaur Badal argued that strengthening of backward and forward linkages in the industry would go a long way to help minimize wastage.

With stronger connections, the food processing industry could educate farmers about the latest technologies and better farm practices so that the industry gets good quality raw material and, in return, farmers get better prices for their produce. In addition, this would benefit the consumer, reduce inflation and help the food processing sector to grow, the minister said.

At present, 18 percent of the food produced in the country is wasted, most of it during harvesting and transportation.

"The food wastage plays a very important role in inflation. Because of wastage, market availability declines and that directly leads to inflation. So if we control it (wastage) we can control inflation," Badal commented.

With India's population on the increase, demand for food is growing. At the same time, however, agricultural land is shrinking which means that it's imperative to produce more food from the land available.

There are huge opportunities for the food processing sector, which will play a key role in addressing these challenges, the minister said.

"Food processed is food saved," she pointed out.