In the maiden meeting of the state food processing development council (SFPDC), Punjab's food and civil supplies and food processing minister Adaish Pratap Singh Kairon said on Sunday that the Central government could play a significant role in the development of food-processing industry and export of food items from the state.
Sustained efforts, he said, would make Punjab number one in the food-processing sector, and the state government would offer all help in it. The minister said promoting food processing was the state's objective but to safeguard the producers' interests was also a responsibility. He told the council that the state was conscious of the processors' problems and trying to address these in the new food-processing policy to be notified shortly.
The SFPDC was constituted under the National Mission on Food Processing (NMFP) and its members represent industrial associations, farmer associations, banks, food processing experts from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), National Agro Biotechnology Institute (NABI), and heads of various state departments. Its main function is of food-processing policy adviser.
The council discussed the status and scope of the food-processing industry in the state. All participants were unanimous that food processing was the key area for reviving Punjab's economy. The speakers from milk industry talked about rationalising the tax structure in their arena. Another representative of the processing industry talked about the high potential of export of processed vegetables such as tomato, carrot and beetroot.
The participants were excited about the laboratory for agro-food products at Punjab Biotechnology Incubation Centre in Mohali.