Food sector witnessing flurry of activities on policy front
Food sector witnessing flurry of activities on policy front

Over the last few months, we have seen Indian food policy taking a leap to solve all food related issues. Not only the food companies and suppliers, but the government body has come forward to introduce the best policies in the sector by incubating technologies and taking foreign support to get the best produce in the country. Let’s have a look what happening on policy front.

What’s being integrated?

With changing time and the government, the Indian food policies are getting strengthened not only at the local and national level, but global companies are too taking a way forward into the Indian market to give their best support in reaching the highest production in terms of food and agriculture.

The government of Madhya Pradesh has signed three MoUs in September with Maschio-Gaspardo of Italy, Kubota of Japan, and Fiat (India) Private Limited of New Holland to boost agricultural food produce in the state including maize, soyabean amongst other. The foreign countries would help in incubating latest technologies in enhancing productivity of the crop in the state.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture Department of Karnataka has recently launched a new project ‘Chaman’ to use geo-spatial applications for the assessment and management of horticultural crops. A total cost of Rs 13.38 crore is being implemented for duration of three years starting 2014 till 2017 to grow the best fruits and vegetables under the project. The money will be used to grow best produce of banana, mango, citrus and vegetables such as potato, tomato, onion and chilli.

At the same time, Government of Indian has taken the initiative to improve agriculture output without comprising on nutrition and quality of the produce. The government has launched ‘Grow Safe Food’ campaign in October and has also directed licensed dealers and retailers of crop protection products to refrain from selling, exhibiting and distribution of such products.

The ‘Dairy’ deal

Indian dairy sector which has seen 10-12 per cent hike in the milk prices in the last two years is expecting a hold on hike this year. To maintain the same the government of India has planned to add more breeding centres and also bring experts to locate the problems that is being faced in the industry.

The government of India is planning to set up two ‘National Kamdenu Breeding Centres’ one each in North and South to increase milk production by developing indigenous breeds of cows. The centres will be dedicated to develop new breeds of 'desi' cows and support a network of 'Integrated Indigenous Cattle Centres' across the country. These centres will work to upgrade nondescript cattle (cows) using elite indigenous breeds like Gir, Sahiwal, Rathi, Deoni, Tharparkar and Red Sindhi. The process will not only improve the genetic makeup of 'desi' breeds of cows but also increase their stock.

Meanwhile, a team of experts from the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation visited Indian in October to inspect milk processing units including, Amul (Gujarat Milk Marketing Federation) and Mother Dairy (National Dairy Development Board) to explore the possibility of Russian imports of dairy items from them. The opportunity came soon after Russia banned fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports from the US, EU, Australia and Canada in response to sanctions imposed on it.

The way forward

Cold chain and warehousing which is a serious issue in the growth of Indian food sector is also viewed when the government is keen on sharing opportunities in the fast growing Indian food market.

The State Government of Orissa has decided to amend the Odisha Agricultural Produce Market (OAPM) Act, 1958, to include a provision of e-market for the farmers and open the sector to private players which will help farmers a barrier-free market. A Bill is likely to be brought in this regard in the next session of the Assembly.

The amendment will facilitate establishment of agricultural markets and development of marketing infrastructure under PPP mode, so as to promote private sector investment. Besides this, commodity specific special markets will be set up to enable the farmers to sell their produce directly, both to Regulated Marketing Committee (RMC) and private buyers.

NCDEX Spot Exchange is planning to form a national Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) which will be a unified electronic platform. National e-APMCs will enable a farmer or a trader to trade in any of the linked mandis through an electronic platform provided by the NCDEX spot exchange. This policy is already implemented in Karnataka where it unified 35 APMCs, or mandis electronically. Gujarat, Haryana and Maharashtra are also the beneficiaries of this e-venture. And states like Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu has expressed their interest in this programme.

APEDA has signed a MoU with Maharashtra State Warehousing Corporation, (MSWC) for setting up of infrastructure for cold storage at Gultekdi, the wholesale market yard in Pune. The proposed project involves facilities for cold storage, precooling and blast freezing with two 400 tonne cold storage chamber for fruits and processed vegetables, a 1200 tonne cold store for dry fruit, spices and fruits. The identified products for the project are pomegranate, grapes, raisins, dairy products and frozen vegetables.

Thus, we can say that the new government is not only bringing the new policies and laws in the country but has also opened doors for foreign incubators to take the Indian agricultural produce to a greater height.

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