Erratic monsoon not to hurt food processing sector: minister | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Erratic monsoon not to hurt food processing sector: minister

delhi Updated: Jul 10, 2009 18:39 IST

The erratic monsoon this year will not hurt the country's food processing sector as there was enough surplus produce for value addition, according to Minister for Food Processing Industries Subodh Kant Sahai.

"In India, the (food) processing level is still very low - at only around 10 per cent," Sahai told reporters on the sidelines of a function held in New Delhi on Friday to launch the Ministry of Food Processing Industries' new magazine.

"We have enough surplus produce waiting for value addition. So where is the loss? If you go for value addition to the (agricultural) produce that is in hand, you can only end up earning a few rupees more. Farmers stand to benefit if their produce, instead of being wasted, is processed," he said.

Regarding the union budget's impact on the sector, Sahai said that his ministry had enough money in hand to start work on various projects.

"We also expect to get some more from the mid-term (budget) and carry on with our work."

He also lauded Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's announcement in the budget that investment-linked tax incentives would be extended to the businesses of setting up and operating cold chain and warehousing facilities for storing agricultural produce.

"Cold chain infrastructure is something we sorely lack. This tax concession will go a long way in developing cold chain infrastructure in the country and help reduce wastage of agricultural produce," Sahai said.