Union Minister for Food Processing Industries, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Narendra Singh Tomar recently presided a meeting with major stakeholders of food processing sector via video conference. He stated that the govt. is planning to take the food processing facilities to far off regions of the nation. He appealed the industry representatives to serve as a helping hand for the government in this drive. Also, Union Cabinet held discussion with industry leaders for framing detailed rules and regulations of the Product Linked incentive (PLI) scheme. This scheme will assist in ameliorating manufacturing potential and exports from the nation.

Tomar declared that agriculture and the rural sector is the cornerstone of the national economy. He affirmed that during the pandemic it was felt that despite hardships, the agriculture sector was quite irrepressible in terms of farmers’ earnings and food production. He also said that during the lockdown, moderations were given by the government so that the food processing sector, pesticides industry, seed industry, and rural economy as a whole resumed functioning steadily.

Union FPI Minister informed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emphasized two points- one is the urge to people to join together for Aatmanirbhar Bharat and second is the demand of Vocal for Local. Tomar stated that for Aatmanirbhar Bharat, the processing of local products should necessarily be targeted. He further said that that we have to take measures towards augmenting food production and farmers’ earnings. In this matter, Prime Minister released the Rs 1 lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF).

The minister declared that the advice of industry leaders would be considered and required actions would be taken. Rameswar Teli informed that the call for frozen food, superfoods, and ready to eat foods has spiked up during COVID-19 and we have to analyze the new opportunities and step forward according to it. He also stated that PM FME scheme of MoFPI under Aatmanirbhar Bharat has a goal of bringing micro-enterprises into mainstream. As per this scheme, in next 5 years, 2 lakh beneficiaries would be given assistance to improve and strengthen their businesses.

Secretary of MoFPI declared that the food processing sector has been recognized as conquerer sector. She also said that in the view of COVID-19 there is an increased demand for health foods and the Ministry is implementing a strategy to assist the industry to grab the opportunity. Manoj Joshi, AS of MoFPI unveiled particulars of the PLI scheme.

The meeting was attended by several industry representatives from ASSOCHAM, CII, DICCI FICCI, PHDCCI, etc. Recommendations for the boost of food processing sector were also given by these attendees.

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