Tuesday, 05 July, 2016, 08 : 00 AM [IST]Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
P L Kaul, former president, AIFPA, and CMD, Mariental India Private Ltd, said that the industry would now need to aggressively look at feasible projects based on the farm produce of each region and make the required investments. The four southern states of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have the required agro-processing requisites. Favourable climate, adequate water resources and manpower need to be adequately exploited.
The southern states are known for production of mango, banana, pineapple and pomegranate apart from rice, maize, coconut, spices and marine life. These are greenfield areas which need to be tapped and one has to comprehend the massive benefits before investing in processing units. For instance, mango pulp is the most common processed product but value additions like freeze dried versions and add-on like yoghurt among others can be considered.
India also has a wealth of marine life but lacks adequate value-added processing. Therefore investments are found wanting in this sector. Currently much of the fish catch is exported but there is need for modernisation of trawlers and technology to confirm sale orders by fishermen on the sea, according to Kaul.
Similarly there is considerable scope for maize processing and value-added product development like starch which can not only be used in food processing industry but by the chemical sector too. Sugarcane and rice too have extensive by-product value addition.
In the case of groundnut, which is the cheapest source of nutrition, products like peanut butter should be manufactured on a large scale and provided to the economically backward sections.
Southern India is known for its poultry farms. The poultry manure should be used productively on farm lands to enrich the soil.
According to Dr H Shivanna, VC, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru, the big concern in India is post-harvest losses and the country has the required expertise in terms of qualified workforce to develop technologies and process to stall this.
Another area of focus for the food processing sector pertains to cereal and minor millet processing. These could withstand both drought and floods. “Since these crops are high in nutrition and can be grown on either dry and wet land, entrepreneurs should look at processing this,” stated Dr Shivanna.