The World Bank is giving priority to the food processing sector in India and is ready to extend support for building a supply chain, Food Processing Minister Subodh Kant Sahay said on Wednesday.
"The World Bank has shown interest in encouraging food processing in this country and is willing to give all assistance to build up a supply network and other infrastructure for boosting it," Sahay told reporters in the Capital after a 10-day visit to the US.
"There is immense interest for investment in the sector in India. Further follow up action will be taken by the ministry with individual companies and investors to concretise their intent for investment in this sector."
He said during his one-to-one meetings with potential American investors in the food processing industry, they evinced keen interest in starting business operations in India.
The minister said that in Los Angeles, the Kenpo Group of companies expressed interest in setting up mega food parks in India while Amy's Foods, a San Francisco-based organic and packaged food services company, expressed their intention to set up and start operations in India.
Sahay said Melissa, a Los Angeles-based company that is into food retailing and marketing and is the principal supplier of Indian mangoes to the US, is keen on entering the country for sourcing its supplies and setting up India operations.
Another leading American company, Dole, which operates in 19 countries, building cold chains and supply chains and is a supplier of processed food, indicated their intent to enter India and start business operations, he said.
American companies evincing interest in food processing assumes significance as it has been identified by the Indian government as a priority sector. The Vision Document of the government provides for an investment of about Rs 1 trillion in the sector of which Rs 100 billion only is to come from the government.
"There is need for larger private investment to establish adequate infrastructure facilities and supply chains for the food processing sector," Sahay said.
"There is need for farmers to link to the market and they should start producing raw material for use by the industry so that they are benefited with long-term economic sustainability."