From farm to fork: Modi says India can become global hub for processed food

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File photo
India has the potential to turn itself into a global hub for processed foods, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said at New Delhi's  Vigyan Bhawan. Addressing global food and retail industry stalwarts and international business delegations, PM Modi called for more private investments in the sectors of food processing, storage and retailing.

"Come, invest in India, the place with unlimited opportunities to deliver food — from farm to the fork," he said amid thunderous applause.

Highlighting the government's initiatives in ease of doing business in the sector, the prime minister said that 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) was now allowed in trading and e-commerce channels for food items, the goods and services tax (GST) simplified the country's indirect tax structure, and India's rank in the global innovation index was improving. "We have taken the biggest jump in ease of doing business by improving our rank by 30 places to get into the top 100 league," he said.

Various fiscal initiatives offered by states and the central government, such as single-window clearance for foreign and domestic investors, have been activated. This will further boost ease of doing business, PM Modi told the delegates after launching the portal 'Nivesh Bandhu'. "Cold chains and agro-processing is now a priority sector," he said.

"However, more is required to be done. Although private investments are increasing, more investments are required in contract farming, raw material sourcing and creation of agri linkages," he said, adding that areas like "refrigerated transport system and cold chain infrastructure is required".

India's increasing urbanisation and growing middle class give companies a large market for wholesale processed food. "Over 1 million passengers every day on Indian trains... all are potential customers waiting to be tapped by the industry," Modi told potential investors.

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