India has drafted an integrated food law designed to promote investment in food processing and agriculture in general. According to Minister for Food Processing Subodh Kant Sahai the government is also planning mega-food parks to attract investments in agriculture.
Speaking at an event organised by the US-India Business Council here, Sahai said India's $69.4-billion food sector was "completely taxless" and that India "looked forward to foreign direct investment in food related industries."
He added that the government was trying to work out the means to set mega-food parks between 10 and 100 hectares in size, for which 30 locations had already been identified. The parks would be set up through private consultants with the government providing grants of up to Rs 500 million each. He said the parks would cover the entire food processing cycle "from the farm gate to the retail outlet". The government was awaiting a report on the mega-food parks. The present plan was to have 50 per cent of the production of such parks marked for export. The idea is that the parks would provide a site for those who wanted to invest in Indian agriculture.
At present, only 2 per cent of India's food production is processed. Sahai noted that foreign direct investment is allowed in all areas except certain types of alcohol and some areas reserved for small and medium enterprises like “pickles and chutneys."