India’s food processing sector has the potential to attract US$ 33 billion investment by 2024, according to a study. The country’s food and retail market is expected to touch US$ 482 billion by 2020, up from US$ 258 billion in 2015, with recent reforms making the sector more competitive and market-oriented, it said. “There is a huge scope for large investments in food processing technologies, skill development and equipment as total food production in India is estimated to double in next 10 years,” said the joint study done by Indian industry body Assocham and Chicago-based professional services firm Grant Thornton. As a result, the food processing sector has potential to attract US$ 33 billion investment and generate employment of nine million persons’ days by 2024, it said.
While the sector provides opportunity for growth, the study suggested that it needs to focus on product conformity with global standards and quality together with factors like logistics traceability and safety, quality of packaging and delivery. “There is a need for policy intervention and field level changes for India to develop global competitiveness in many related sub-sectors and ensure that they are firmly entrenched in global value chains,” it said.
Fast growth in food processing and simultaneous improvement in the development of value chain are of great importance to achieve favourable terms of trade for India’s agriculture sector both in domestic and international markets. “Given the trade in production of food commodities, the food processing industry in India is on an assured track of growth and profitability,” the study stated. Even marginal reductions in post-harvest losses of fruits and vegetables, which are at about 25-30 per cent, will give better returns and improve farmers’ incomes, it added.