Union Minister for Food Processing Industries, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Narendra Singh Tomar held a meeting with key stakeholders of the food processing sector through a video conference. Tomar said that the Government aims to take the food processing facilities to far off regions of the country. He urged the industry representatives to support the Government in this initiative. Further, the Union Cabinet held a consultation with industry leaders for making detailed guidelines of the Product Linked incentive (PLI) scheme. This scheme will help in enhancing manufacturing capability and exports from the country.
Tomar said that agriculture and the rural sector is the backbone of our economy. He added that during Covid-19 it was observed that despite adversities, the agriculture sector was quite resilient in terms of farmers' income and food production. He added that during the lockdown, relaxations were given by Government so that the food processing sector, pesticides industry, seed industry and rural economy as a whole continued to function smoothly.
The Union FPI minister further said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has highlighted two points- one is the appeal to people to come together for Aatmanirbhar Bharat and the second is the call of Vocal for Local. Tomar said that for Aatmanirbhar Bharat, the processing of local products needs to be focused upon. He added that we have to work towards an increase in food production and farmers' income. Towards this direction, Prime Minister launched the Rs 1lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF).
Tomar said that suggestions of industry leaders would be examined and necessary action would be taken. Rameswar Teli said that demand for frozen food, super foods, ready to eat foods demand has increased during Covid-19 and we have to assess the new opportunities and move forward accordingly. Teli added that PM FME scheme of MoFPI under Aatmanirbhar Bharat, aims to bring micro-enterprises into mainstream. Under this scheme, in next five years, 2 lakh beneficiaries would be given support to upgrade their businesses.
Secretary, MoFPI said that the food processing sector has been identified as champion sector. She added that in the wake of Covid-19 there is great demand for health foods and the Ministry is adopting an approach to facilitate the industry to seize the opportunity. Manoj Joshi, AS, MoFPI shared details of the PLI scheme.
During the meeting various industry representatives from FICCI, CII, ASSOCHAM, PHDCCI, DICCI and others provided suggestions for development of food processing sector.