The industry is famous for Petha, a type of sweet, which has satisfied the taste buds of both domestic, as well as foreign customers.
The Rs 300 crores industry employs over 25000 people in around 650 micro units that manufacture more than 30 varieties of Petha. It exports its product to almost all the North Indian states as well as to foreign countries like the USA and the Middle East. A major chunk of the revenue is achieved through sales of Petha to the tourists, who visit the historical city of Agra in large number each year.
“The food processing industry is the only thriving industry in Agra which is well known among the traders of other parts of the country. Despite all the popularity of the products, the industry is still not growing at desired pace,” said Mohammad Azeez, owner of Lazeez Petha Sweets.
Azeez listed the use of traditional technology that leads to a lot of dependence on labour, lack of fine quality raw materials and lack of hygiene in processing units as the main reasons behind the industry’s sluggish growth. “The use of modern technology will bring better and finer product,” he added.
“Moreover, despite knowing that these products are very famous, the industrialists never bothered to build a brand name and adopt modern marketing techniques,” said Rupesh Kumar, owner of Reema Sweets.
“There is also a need of a suitable preservation technology to maintain the taste and quality of the food items while exporting,” said Dharamesh Rana, owner of Sri Sai Petha Shop. “We have decided to meet the local representative of the state government and appeal them to help the industrialists to bring all these facilities to this sector,” he said.