New Delhi [India], December 4 (ANI): NITI Aayog CEO Parameswaran Iyer urged food processing industries to leverage the focus on millet-based food and come up with inputs and ideas to magnify the efforts of the government.
While speaking at the National Food Processing Conclave 2022, the chief executive officer said that food processing is not only an important sector for the health of the economy and people, it can also prove to help increase the income of farmers.
Along with this, he said that nutrition can also play an important role in achieving goals. Parameswaran Iyer said the food processing sector is important for the Indian economy as well as for job creation. The event was organised by CII's Food and Agriculture Centre of Excellence, in New Delhi on Friday. The CEO added, "That's why we should also emphasise increasing the production and export of processed products."
The conclave was on the theme - Food Processing Industries 2.0: The Next Growth enabler for India@100 - with the focus on Millets for Year 2023 being declared as the International Year of the Millets.
In a statement from CII, it said it developed a white paper on Food Processing Vision 2047, which was launched at the conclave and aimed towards recommending actionable steps to achieve the vision for food processing.
Stressing the criticality of the sector, Suresh Narayanan, Chairman, the CII National Committee on food processing industries and chairman and managing director, of Nestle India, said "The sector is critical to India's economic and social growth, as it allows better price realisation for farmers, provides employment and enables nutrition delivery."
Speaking about opportunities for Industry, Ministry of Food Processing Industries Additional Secretary Minhaj Alam said, "Food requirement is expected to skyrocket in the coming years, which will provide a lot of opportunity for industry innovations in the food processing sector to meet the demand-supply gap."
"Innovations in Food Technology are critical to the growth and development of the food processing sector as they support and enable the various components of the food value chain from the farm to the fork" Mayank Jalan, Co-chairman, CII National Committee on food processing industries, and Chairman and Managing Director, Keventer Agro, said.
In the segment of innovation, the Conclave witnessed the participation of the next-generation food companies, which included Wholsum Foods, Sresta Organics, Good Dot Enterprises, and Sattviko, among others.
Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Joint Secretary Shubha Thakur in her keynote address stressed that "The government is keen to facilitate the solutions for current challenges in the processing of millets along with R and D and innovation."
Echoing this thought, Rasna CMD Piruz Khambatta mentioned "It is critical to continue increasing the production of millets while simultaneously mainstreaming it to the consumption basket and it is here that the role of Industry comes in."
The CII statement said food processing can also be leveraged towards reducing food waste, which is currently at an epidemic level. Towards reducing food waste, food donation is a key means and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in partnership with CII FACE launched the Safe Food Share Food initiative during the conclave towards the same.
The initiative, the statement said, aims to bring together relevant stakeholders like governments, corporates, food businesses, recovery agencies and civil society organisations for operating in a coordinated manner to prevent food loss and distribute the surplus food to the needy population to mitigate malnutrition.
Growing consumer focus on health and nutrition is also a key trend shaping the sector's future. CII said the food processing companies in India have already shifted their focus to enabling access to nutrition with more prominence on lowering nutrients of concern, improving micronutrient access through fortification, enabling protein intake through innovative products etc.
FSSAI CEO S Gopalakrishnan, Chief Executive Officer, mentioned, "Initiatives like Eat Right India aim to spread awareness about food safety, quality and regulations at the grass-roots level and educate people to make healthier food choices."
Towards enabling MSMEs for formulating healthier food product options for consumers, CII-FACE designed an e-course with the support of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which was launched at the Conclave by S Gopalakrishnan.
The Conclave saw the participation of CEOs and top executives from prominent food and related sectoral companies, along with think tanks and academia. (ANI)