ITC, Patanjali, Coke, others commit Rs 68k cr investment in food sector

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing at the World Food India 2017 inaugural session in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)
The government on Friday said investments worth Rs 68,000 crore have been committed by many domestic and multinational firms, including ITC, PepsiCo, Patanjali and Coca-Cola Co, in India's food and agriculture sector.

The Ministry of Food Processing Industries said 13 MoUs were signed on the inaugural day of World Food India 2017 event here.

"We have already signed MoUs worth Rs 68,000 crore on the first day of World Food India and more investment is set to come over the next few days," Union Minister for Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal said in a statement.

While PepsiCo announced to invest Rs 13,300 crore for setting up a food and beverage plant, rival Coca-Cola announced to bring in Rs 11,000 crore for juice bottling infrastructure and fruit processing plants and equipment.

ITC and Patanjali also inked MoUs to invest Rs 10,000 crore each. Besides, Amazon, UAE's Sharaf Group and Yes Bank are also among major investors, the statement added.

"These investments will help us realise the goal of doubling farmers' income as well as generating massive employment in the food processing sector," Badal said.

While conglomerate ITC said it would invest over Rs 10,000 crore to set up 20 integrated food processing and logistics facilities, PepsiCo reiterated that it along with its partners would invest Rs 13,000 crore in the next five years.

Speaking at the inauguration of the event, Nestle Chairman of Board of Director Paul Bulcke said top priority should be given to investment in building agriculture capacity amid challenges of scarce natural resources, rising population and growing food demand.

Commenting on India's potential in food and agri sector, ITC Ltd CEO and Executive Director Sanjiv Puri said, "With a population of 1.3 billion, India's consumption market is projected to triple to USD 4 trillion by 2025 with the bulk of expenditure going into food products."

Unilever Global President Amanda Sourry said, "The world is looking towards India. The opportunities for foods in India are huge. We at Unilever are excited at opportunities in India."

She said rich agri-resources in India create an optimal opportunity to scale up the processing industry here.

Hindustan Unilever Ltd CEO & Managing Director Sanjiv Mehta said: "India is an attractive destination by any yardstick which you look at...We are talking about one of the most attractive markets and as the economy grows, there would be more people coming and moving up."

Metro AG COO and Metro Cash and Carry CEO Pieter Boone said the recent policy decisions to improve ease of doing business coupled with demonetisation and GST are now driving positive overhaul in the economic environment.

Tata International Managing Director and Trent Chairman Noel Tata said that there is a need for significant new investment to increase our scale in food processing, which is dominated by MSMEs.

The three day World Food India event was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Latvia Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis and Armenia President Serzh Sargsyan as also food and agriculture ministers from Italy, Germany and Denmark were present at the event.