Recognising the potential of food processing sector in transforming India as the food basket of the world, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India has adopted measures to channelise investments in food processing subsegments. This includes backward linkages, food processing equipment, processing related R&D, cold chain storage solutions, start-ups, logistic & retail chains, encompassing the entire food processing value chain.
With the objective of introducing the world to rich Indian food culture as well as promoting investments in the diverse food processing sector of the country, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries launched the first edition of World Food India in 2017. In view of celebrating 2023 as the International Year of Millets and to bring global food processing industry together, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries is organising the second edition ‘World Food India 2023’ from 3rd-5th November, 2023 at New Delhi.
Millets are ancient grains that have been part of India's rich heritage for millennia. They are super foods that provide high nutrition, gluten-free options, climate resilience, and eco-friendliness. Millets can enhance food security, nutrition security, and sustainability in the face of global challenges such as climate change, population growth, and malnutrition. The United Nations has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYM 2023) with the aim of increasing the production and consumption of millets worldwide. The idea is to promote millets as a smart crop for smart food and smart farming. India, as the world's largest producer of millets, has a crucial role in making IYM 2023 a success and showcasing the benefits of millets to the world. India cultivates a variety of millet crops such as Pearl Millet (Bajra), Sorghum (Jowar), Finger Millet (Ragi/Mandua), Foxtail Millet (Kangani/Kakun), Proso Millet (Cheena), Kodo Millet (Kodo), Barnyard Millet (Sawa/Sanwa/ Jhangora), LiUle Millet (Kutki), Buck-wheat (KuUu) and Ameranthus (Chaulai). These millets have diﬀerent nutritional profiles and culinary uses. Millets can be consumed as whole grains or processed into various products such as flour, flakes, puﬀs, noodles, pasta, bread, biscuits, cookies, cakes, muﬃns, granola bars, snacks, beverages, and more. Millets can also serve as animal feed and biofuel. Millets have several advantages over other cereals such as rice and wheat. Millets are rich in protein, dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Millets have a low glycemic index and are beneficial for people with diabetes and other metabolic disorders. Millets also support gut health and immunity. Millets are drought-tolerant and can grow in marginal lands with low water and fertilizer inputs. Millets can also improve soil health and biodiversity. India has a huge opportunity to enter the global market for millet-based processed foods. The demand for healthy, natural, organic, gluten-free, and vegan foods is growing worldwide. Millets can meet these consumer preferences and oﬀer a wide range of products that are delicious, convenient, and aﬀordable. India can use its expertise in millet cultivation, processing, and innovation to carve a niche for itself in the global food industry. India can also use millets as a tool for diplomacy and development cooperation. India can share its best practices and experiences with other countries in promoting millets as a solution for food security, nutrition security, and sustainability. India can also work with other countries in research and development of new varieties and technologies for millet production and processing. India can also help other countries in designing policies and programs for millet promotion and consumption. India has an edge in terms of its diversity, heritage, innovation, and leadership in millets. India can use this edge to position itself as the global hub for millets and showcase its achievements and contributions to the world. Shree Anna (Millets) is not just a food but a way of life that reflects India’s culture, values, and vision for the future.
India has a dynamic and diverse food processing industry that encompasses several sub-sectors such as marine products, fruits and vegetables products, meat and poultry products, RTE/RTC (packaged foods), and dairy products. These sub-sectors have immense potential for growth in terms of production, consumption, exports, and value addition.
India is one of the world's largest producers and consumers of food products. India leads the world in the production of milk, bananas, mangoes, papayas, guavas, ginger, okra and buﬀalo meat, ranks second in the production of rice, wheat, potatoes, garlic, cashew nuts, dry beans, chickpeas and inland fish and ranks third in the production of eggs, coconut, tomatoes and lentils. India also has a long coastline of 7,516 km and an exclusive economic zone of 2.02 million sq km that oﬀer abundant marine resources.
India has a huge opportunity to tap into the untapped markets and potentials for its strategic segments. India can leverage its strengths such as availability of raw materials, low cost of labour, large domestic market, favourable demographic profile, rising income levels and changing consumption paUerns to boost its food processing industry.
India can also optimize its utilization of resources by creating eﬃcient and integrated value chains that link farmers, processors, retailers and consumers. India can adopt modern technologies and innovations to enhance productivity, quality, safety and traceability of its food products. India can also develop niche products that cater to the specific needs and preferences of diﬀerent segments of consumers such as health-conscious, organic, gluten-free, vegan etc.
India can also identify and tap into the investment opportunities that exist in its strategic segments. India can aUract foreign direct investment (FDI), private equity (PE), venture capital (VC) and other sources of funding to upgrade its infrastructure, technology and capacity. India can also explore various modes of partnership such as joint ventures (JV), mergers and acquisitions (M&A), contract manufacturing etc. with domestic and foreign players to expand its market access and presence.
India can also garner its edge by showcasing its achievements and contributions in its strategic segments. India can highlight its success stories and best practices in terms of innovation, quality, sustainability and social impact. India can also promote its unique products and brands that reflect its culture, heritage and diversity. India can also participate actively in various international plaforms and forums to share its knowledge and experience with other countries.
Strategic segments are the key drivers for unlocking the potentials for growth in India's food processing industry. WFI will focus on leveraging India’s strengths, overcome its challenges, capitalize on its opportunities and create a competitive advantage for itself in the global food market.
India has a vision to become a global hub for food processing and create a competitive advantage for itself in the world food market. To achieve this vision, India intends to boost its enablers that can support and accelerate its food processing industry.
One of the key enablers is Financing Agri Food Value Chains. Provide adequate and aﬀordable credit to the food processing sector, especially to the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that constitute a major part of the industry is one of the key focus areas of India. India is also facilitating various sources of funding such as foreign direct investment (FDI), private equity (PE), venture capital (VC) and other innovative financial mechanisms that can help upgrade the infrastructure, technology and capacity of the sector.
Improved market accessibility serves as another crucial factor. Enhancement of domestic and international market access for food products by creating eﬃcient and integrated value chains that link farmers, processors, retailers and consumers. India is also developing niche products that cater to the specific needs and preferences of diﬀerent segments of consumers such as health-conscious, organic, gluten-free, vegan etc. India is leveraging its trade agreements and partnerships with other countries and regions to expand its export potential and presence.
Access to technology is yet another crucial facilitator. India’s adoption of modern technologies and innovations that can enhance productivity, quality, safety and traceability of its food products has led to substantial growth. India is further fostering a culture of research and development (R&D) and innovation in the food processing sector by collaborating with academic institutions, research organizations, industry associations and other stakeholders. India is also promoting the adoption of digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), blockchain etc. that can transform the food processing industry.
Finally, favorable policies play a vital role in ensuring consistent growth in the sector. India has a conducive policy environment that facilitates the growth and development of the food processing sector. Streamlining and simplification of regulatory framework and procedures for the sector by adopting a single-window system, ease of doing business measures, online platforms etc. has bolstered the food processing industry. India tends to focus on harmonizing its food standards and regulations with international norms and best practices.
Exponential food processing is not just a goal but a strategy that can propel India's economic growth, social development and environmental sustainability.
An eﬃcient and all-encompassing ecosystem necessitates dismantling barriers and establishing a coordinated and integrated framework. The creation of value chains and the promotion of knowledge sharing are crucial to generate inclusive opportunities.
In order to entice foreign investment, the government has opened the doors to 100% foreign direct investment and is making eﬀorts to enhance its standing in the Ease of Doing Business index. To back micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), the government is propelling a variety of schemes while also empowering women's self-help groups (SHGs) and facilitating farmers' producer organizations' (FPOs) engagement in the economy. Special incentives for hilly regions are being oﬀered to promote geographical inclusion, while market and financial access is being facilitated.
In order to guarantee that the workforce is adequately equipped for employability, skilling for the future is being prioritized. The enhancement of logistics is also being prioritized through initiatives such as Gati Shakti. Both the formal and informal sectors are being supported, and the scale of capital required for traditional versus mechanized industries is being taken into account.
Employment generation is being emphasized, and the demographic dividend is being utilized to establish a sustainable and comprehensive ecosystem. By prioritizing these crucial aspects, we can establish an eﬃcient ecosystem, resulting in comprehensive growth and development that benefits all members of society.
Sustainable Development constitutes a fundamental component in the attainment of Processing for Prosperity. As humanity confronts the repercussions of climate change, green technologies have emerged as a potent tool in the fight towards a sustainable future. These technologies, encompassing renewable energy sources and sustainable agricultural practices, have become prominent and promising trends, signifying a transformation in the global approach towards a more sustainable future.
Sandboxes, which function as innovation laboratories for experimenting with novel concepts, are enabling the development of novel green technologies and propelling sustainable innovation. A comprehensive approach to sustainable development is imperative, emphasizing the creation of income-generating opportunities that enhance value for all stakeholders. Such an approach demands a global perspective and a commitment to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aimed at safeguarding the environment and stimulating sustainable economic growth.
The G20 acknowledges the need for global collaboration towards a sustainable future, while initiatives such as Make in India, Start-up India, and Atmanirbhar are promoting sustainable growth not only nationally but also globally. It is indispensable to sustain this progress in an environmentally friendly, sustainable manner that secures a prosperous future for all and safeguards the planet for future generations.