Micro food processing sector a growth driver of the Indian economy

Manoj Joshi of MoFPI explained during IFNIS 2021 how innovation in food processing is critical and the government’s role in handholding the industry through research and development.

29 Oct 2021 | By WhatPackaging? Team

"All types of innovations are happening in the food sector," Manoj Joshi, special secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), GoI told the visitors and delegates of the India Food and Nutrition Innovation Summit 2021 (IFNIS 2021) organised by FICCI and Thinking Forks from 27-28 October 2021.

During his session, Joshi shared an insight with the FICCI delegates when he said, “The smaller the company, the more innovative it is. Since for a small company the stakes are higher; and therefore, the need to innovate.”

Joshi felt that India is ready for innovations and all the food-tech stakeholders need to impart, discuss and acquaint micro enterprises with the new emerging trends in food processing and technological innovation.

While addressing the members of the IFNIS 2021 summit, he highlighted the importance of the micro food processing sector as a growth driver of the Indian economy and the government’s efforts to encourage food processing innovation in India.

One area where the innovation has been disappointing, according to Joshi, has been millet in our food. This would require "a lot of work from the industry and the government" and both will have to "work together to make it happen."

Joshi implored the delegates when he said, "Come to us, and we would be happy to support whatever research is required on product development. Since product development is one area where not enough is happening."

He stated that government institutions can't develop the productive innovation challenges on shelf-life and food processing and logistics. "This would require the government and industry to be partners."

Joshi: Partnership is required for logistics and storage, in primary processing and IT

Another "challenging area" is the storage issue. Joshi shared an insight about the onion storage crisis, as how no one knows how to store onions.

Be it in Madhya Pradesh or Bihar, the solution is to store onions and switch on a fan. Likewise, refrigeration has its own set of issues. He mentioned that one reason for the fluctuating onion prices is the absence of a solution for onions.

Joshi said, "If storage and logistics are available then we would have found a solution to all our perishable items."

Joshi mentioned that the ministry would like to learn from the industry - and work together. “If funding is an issue that can be provided,” he said. "Today partnership is required for logistics and storage, in primary processing and IT."

He gave an example of the cooperative model in the milk industry. He hoped that similar models could be created.

During his session, Joshi explained how the project development cell of the Nivesh Bandhu portal has been formed to attract investment in India’s food processing sector and put in place an investment-friendly ecosystem that supports the domestic investor and FDI and will boost the economy manifold.

He hoped the industry can facilitate product innovation where there is "a market failure". He reassured the summit visitors that everyone has the full support of the government.

In his concluding note, Joshi spoked about interesting nutritional aspects, adjusting biodegradable packaging or using waste for packaging. “Go beyond product innovation, find new innovations…,” he concluded.

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