“No one had given food processing department its due respect until Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister,” said union minister for food processing, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, while addressing the inaugural session of national seminar on ‘Augmenting Processing and Shelf-life of Perishable Food Products’ at Punjab Agricultural University on Friday. The seminar was organised by National Productivity Council, New Delhi.
Badal said her main aim was that processed products should not be limited to elite sections only but should be in the reach of the common man as well. She said that wastage could be reduced primarily if the farmers take full advantage of the food processing industry. Emphasising on the need to check wastage in the agricultural sector, which is estimated to be over Rs 44,000 crore and also aids in curbing inflation. She said, “Food processed is food saved.” She also lauded the Make In India campaign launched by Modi on Thursday.
While addressing the participants, Harsimrat Kaur Badal said her ministry would concentrate on creating primary collection centres close to the food production areas to bring efficiency in food processing and in turn, reduce wastages.
“According to a study conducted by the Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET) in 2010, 18 per cent of the total produce gets wasted and hence the ministry will try and create an enabling environment including creating refrigeration facilities at all levels,” she added.
Badal also stated that Indian Institute of Crop Processing Technology (IICPT) would be opening two centres in Bathinda and Ludhiana. “PAU has given land for the setting up of Bathinda and Ludhiana centres and once they start functioning, Punjab would be benefitted in a big way as all kinds of crops will be processed here,” she said.
The union minister said farmers themselves could set up small food processing units to process their own produce in their homes itself.She also said the aim was that all farmers should be given subsidy on priority basis. She urged PAU vice-chancellor Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon to hold a monthly meeting to brief her about ways in which farmers could be benefitted from food processing
Harbhajan Singh, director general, NPC, VK Taneja, vice-chancellor, GADVASU were also present.