Minister says government and industry need to work together

Prahlad Singh Patel, minister of state for food processing industries inaugurated the 14th edition of FICCI Foodworld India at The Lalit, Mumbai. Excerpts from his inaugural address.

21 Sep 2022 | By Rahul Kumar

Prahlad Singh Patel said the government is committed to the development of food sector

Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that if we want to be a five trillion economy, food processing will have to be the backbone. That is the goal. But we must look at the challenges too.

One of the challenges for the government and industry is branding. For example, not many people are aware of our schemes. The PM is saying that we have a registration of 24 lakh in the form of small units (people/society/organisation) and let’s allocate Rs 10,000-crore to two
lakh units in five years and upgrade them. We had a target of 45,000. But we received 
26,000 applications and 13,000 were rejected. Only 3,750 applications were found
eligible against the target this year. 

We are ready to pour money into the industry. The Ministry of State for Food Processing
Industries is ready to help. It would not happen without your support. Amendment in the schemes is the key and it can happen when industry, government and civil society, come together. 

I am a farmer and I have been associated with the rural development movement during my entire political life. Production is high, but the life of the produce has to be boosted. Otherwise, you cannot derive the benefit. It’s time we consider increasing the life of the product. Recently, I visited a mega food park and witnessed the crises of garlic and onion. We can’t produce onions 12 months a year, but we can preserve it at 20-25 degrees temperature. This is a big achievement.

Food processing is a women-dominated area. The GoI agrees that women participation is in food processing. But it is also true that it is an unorganised sector and it will take time to be organised. Our target is big. So, we have to increase our speed and it is possible when you minimise compliance and increase communication. Things should be corrected within the given time. GST is the best example. 

We are not capable of fulfilling the global demands of food. All of us have to work on this together; so that we can bridge the gap. 

My message to all the delegates at the FICCI FoodWorld is, we have to work together to solve our food problems.