THANJAVUR: India has been at the forefront in food-grain production globally, said Rameswar Teli, Union minister of state for Food Processing, here on Friday.
Inaugurating the national conference on emerging techniques in food processing at Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT) here, the minister said, “We have a market in food that is booming with an expected figure of `61 lakh crore in food retail by 2020”.
India is the world leader in production of milk, banana, mangoes, spices, shrimp, pulses etc and second in cereals, vegetables and tea. Post-harvest losses have plagued the supply chain industry and it is disheartening that every year substantial produce is lost.
“Estimated loss in durables is three to 10 per cent, semi perishables like milk, fish, meat and eggs about 10 per cent to 20 per cent, fruits and vegetables 10 to 20 per cent and horticulture produce five to 10 per cent. These losses necessitate the need to focus on food processing and preservation” the minister said.
Union ministry of Food Processing Industries has launched 42 mega food parks to help farmers, he said.
The ministry has also initiated to promote agricultural chain for major crops in India to the tune of Rs 300 crore funded by World Bank where IIFPT will play a major role” the minister said. The minister released the conference proceedings. The minister spoke in Hindi and gist of his speech was translated in English later.
C.N.Ravishankar, director, ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, C. Anandharamakrishnan, director, IIFPT and Dr M Loganathan, professor, IIFPT were among those who spoke on the occasion. Neera-tapping machine designed by IIFPT has been demonstrated on a coconut tree using solar power, said the director, adding, Neera bottling will be done by the Institute soon.