The government will sanction 100 more cold chain projects in the next few days which will help cut wastage of farm produce and check price volatility, Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said today. These facilities will be part of the national cold chain grid being created to transfer perishables from farm areas to consumers seamlessly, the minister said. “Our processing levels are very low. The government has created an environment to encourage food processing… We are going to sanction 100 more cold chains in the next few days,” Badal said at the inaugural ceremony of the 32nd edition of the global food and hospitality fair ‘Aahar’ here.
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The aim is to set up 150 cold chain units, she said.
Since 2013-14, a total of 81 cold chain projects have been sanctioned by the Food Processing Ministry. Out of which, a maximum of 19 are in Maharashtra, followed by 13 in Uttarakhand, says the government data.
Peru Vice-Minister of Foreign Trade Edgar Vasquez and Poland Deputy Agriculture Minister Ewa Lech were among other senior officials present at the event.
Talking about food wastage, Badal said it is 30-40 per cent in India and the government is taking all policy measures, including FDI, to reduce wastage of farm produce during harvesting and transportation to a zero level.
“Globally, the wastages are to the tune of 30 per cent. In other countries the wastage is more on plate, while they have zero wastage during harvest and transportation,” she said.
Whereas in India, the food wastage is not on plate but during transportation and post harvesting stages, she added.
Badal further said that increasing food processing level is the need of the hour as it helps ensure better prices to farmers and curb price rise in farm commodities besides generating huge employment opportunity for youth.
Highlighting the policy support being given to the sector, the minister said, “We have declared food processing as priority sector for lending. We have created a corpus of Rs 2,000 crore in NABARD to give credit at a cheaper interest rate for putting up food processing units.”
The FDI norms have been relaxed to encourage investment in food processing and transform the country’s food economy, she added.