Prime minister Manmohan Singh today called for improvements in infrastructure and rationalisation and simplification of tax structure to promote the country's food processing sector.
He also complimented the stakeholders in the industry for ensuring a healthy 14.7 per cent growth for the sector during the financial year 2008-09 despite all odds.
Addressing the first conference of state food processing ministers in New Delhi today, Manmohan Singh said there should be a coordinated effort by the centre and the state governments for the growth of this sector. He said food-processing being a sunrise industry has the potential to improve rural livelihood and enhance employment opportunities.
India is the world's top producer of milk, pulses and tea and is second in the production of fruits and vegetables. Yet, he said, the country's share in world food trade is less than two per cent.
He said the central government has taken several measures to give thrust to the food processing industry.
The government, he said, is working sincerely to realise this vision for the food-processing sector. Under the 'Vision 2015 - Strategy and Action Plan' adopted in 2005, the government intends to enhance the level of processing of perishables from 6 per cent to 20 per cent, to increase value addition from 20 per cent to 35 per cent and to increase India's share in global food trade from 2 per cent to 3 per cent, he said