With a view to checking rising food prices by mitigating post-harvest losses, the union government on Thursday reduced the duty on specified food processing and packaging machinery from 10% to 6%.
“The decision to reduce customs duty on food processing machinery is a step towards capacity building. It is likely to usher in investment in the food processing sector and reduce post-harvest losses,” food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said.
While presenting his maiden budget, union finance minister Arun Jaitley said the losses in fruits and vegetables were mainly due to lack of adequate processing capacity.
“To incentivise expansion of processing capacity, I propose to reduce the excise duty on specified food processing and packaging machinery from 10% to 6%,” the finance minister said.
“Minimisation of harvest and post-harvest losses of agricultural produce is an important measure for tackling food inflation and ensuring food security,” Jaitley said.
He said that to make farming competitive and profitable, there is an urgent need to step up investment, both public and private, in agro-technology development and creation and modernisation of existing agribusiness infrastructure.