The two-day conference on the theme ‘The Next Wave of Opportunities,’ was inaugurated by Siraj Hussain, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries and J S V Prasad, IAS, Secretary to Government - Food Processing, government of Andhra Pradesh. Other dignitaries present at the occasion were Sangita Reddy, Chairperson, FICCI, AP Chapter; S Sivakumar, Group Head, Agribusiness Division, ITC Ltd.; J A Chowdary, Conference General Chair, FICCI FOOD 360; Dr. Saikat Datta Mazumdar, COO, ICRISAT and Rajat Wahi, Partner, KPMG, releasing FICCI – KPMG Report.
Speaking on the occasion, Siraj Hussain said that the government doesn’t want any restriction on inter- state movement of agricultural produce within the country; there is no such restriction on industrial goods either. “The farmer should not suffer and he should sell his produce where he gets maximum profit. Trading in agricultural commodities should be free in the country,” he added.
He also said that the states have single window clearance for investments, but they need to make it function more efficiently.
Talking about the deficit in the number of cold storages in the country Hussain said, “Agriculture exports was all time high last year. However, the country is still lagging behind in the number of cold storages and yet to provide the same to store 15 million tons of crops. We are looking at investments from entrepreneurs to bridge this deficit without government subsidy.”
He pointed out that, currently the food processing sector is growing faster than the agriculture sector. This implies that more and more agriculture produce is now getting processed. “However, we need to accelerate the trend as the level of wastage at harvest and post-harvest stage is unacceptably high.”
J S V Prasad, in his speech, betted big on mega food parks and promised to facilitate clearances for investments by removing obstacles. “Andhra Pradesh has been doing well in exports of marine products, rice and pulses. There is good potential for exports of processed and organic foods.” He stressed on the importance of agriculture and the significant diversification towards vegetables, dairy and poultry.
FICCI FOOD360° conference has brought out two Reports; FICCI-KPMG report on ‘Enhancing Competitiveness of Indian Food Chain’ and FICCI-ICRISAT report on ‘Promoting Entrepreneurship in Food Processing Sector for Inclusive Market Oriented Development (IMOD) - Strategies & Support Mechanisms.’ These two reports identify challenges and also convey the opportunities for the food and agribusiness community.
In addition to the conference, the third edition of the event will also include the Exhibition, CEO Conclave & FOOD 360° Awards etc.