Losses in fruits and vegetables to be brought down: Harsimrat Kaur Badal

Union Food Processing Industries Minister, Harsimrat Kaur Badal emphasized on the need for reducing down the percentage of losses in the agricultural commodities.
Losses in fruits and vegetables to be brought down: Harsimrat Kaur Badal

Union Food Processing Industries Minister, Harsimrat Kaur Badal emphasized on the need for reducing down the percentage of losses in the agricultural commodities, particularly in fruits and vegetables from present 18% to much lower levels, says a PTI report.

Quoting the study made in the year 2009, Badal said that the wastage of fruits and vegetables works out to be around Rs 44,000 crore a year, which can be reduced significantly by suitable investments in the food processing sector. She said that presently only 2-3 per cent of fruits and vegetables are processed and thus there was a great opportunity in the food processing sector.

Commenting on the progress in the National Mission for Food Processing (NMFP), the Minister noted with satisfaction that in the present year, in the first six months, 50 per cent of the grants given to the states is going to be utilised, which is a healthy trend.

Mahadev Naik, Minister for Industries, Goa, suggested that cold storage should be set up in villages for processing fish and meat. The Union Food Processing Minister Badal advised them to also look for upgradation of rice mills through the grants made available by the Ministry.

Further, Krishna B.Gowda, Agriculture Minister, Karnataka, stressed on the need for backward integration of retail units with the Food Processing projects so that a direct connect is achieved between the consumers and the producers. He said that investments in organised retail would result in efficiencies in the food chain and better value for farmers. He also highlighted the need for de-regulation of agriculture markets. 

Citing the example of Karnataka, Gowda said that internet based auctioning of agricultural products as well as marketing de-regulation has brought good results. He requested that food processing sector should be included in the priority agricultural lending by the banks.

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