The foreign direct investment (FDI) in the food processing sector is expected to rise by 38 per cent to $1 billion this fiscal, driven by recent reforms, Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said today. Efforts are being made to translate the proposals worth $14 billion signed during the ‘World Food India 2017’ event held in November last year into actual investment. Already, 17 companies, including ITC, have started the ground work, she said. The new initiatives ‘Operation Greens’ and setting up of a ‘specialised agro-processing financial institution’ announced in the Budget 2018 will help further boost the processing levels, reduce wastage and improve farmers’ income, she added. “FDI in food processing is increasing.
It stood at $727 million in 2016-17. In the first seven months of this fiscal, FDI in the sector has reached USD 500 million. It will touch $1 billion by end of this fiscal,” Food Processing Minister Badal told reporters. Investment is flowing into the sector because of reforms undertaken by the government. This will help improve food processing level to 20-30 per cent in the next 2-3 years from the current 10 per cent, she said. Badal further said the government is making serious efforts to actualise each investment promised by both domestic and foreign investors in the sector. “About $14 billion was committed during the World Food India 2017 for next few years.
Out of which, 17 companies like ITC and Cargill — who have committed $4 billion investment — have started the ground work. We are closely monitoring the projects,” she added. With regard to mega food parks, the Minister said around 15 mega food parks will be operationalised this year.
The government had sanctioned setting up of 42 mega food parks way back in 2008. Out of which, only two food parks were operationalised during the previous regime, she added. Asserting that the government has given thrust to food processing, Badal said it was therefore the budget allocation for the food processing ministry has been doubled to Rs 1,400 crore for the 2018-19 fiscal and even a special institution will be set up to finance food processing businesses.