FOOD processing units bridged gap between agricultural production and rural industrialisation, said Mr P K Nath, DGM, SIDBI in his inaugural speech at the seminar on the ‘Opportunities for SMEs in Food Processing Sector’, organized by the Vidarbha Industries Association (VIA) Agro and Rural Development Forum, at Chitnavis Centre. The seminar was also supported by Grant Thornton India and LLP. The dais was also shared by Mr Atul Pande, President of VIA, Dr Suhas Buddhe, Secretary, VIA; Mr Om Jajodia, Chairman, VIA Agro and Rural Development Forum, Mr Yeshwant Bhojwani and Mr Arun Khobragade.
Mr Nath added that keeping in tune with the ‘Make in India’ initiative by the Government of India, the Ministry of Food Processing had been undertaking various steps that had created abundant opportunities in the sector. Stating the example of ‘Patanjali’, Mr Nath noted that there was a huge demand for processed foods in other Asian and Arabian countries. “Good opportunities still lies in food processing business for SMEs. It can even stop the rural to urban migration.” He also informed about the cluster development program and food processing park and textile park. A testing laboratory would be coming up at Butibori Industrial Area to enhance the food processing sector. He also elaborated about the various loan schemes and the moratorium and relaxation in loan for food the processing units. “We can reshape and redesign loan schemes according to the need of the unit. It is now up to you to take the maximum benefit of the opportunities.”
SMEs had a lion’s share in the economic development of the country. Food Processing business contributed 8 per cent to the GDP and had 40 per cent of the total export share of the country, informed Mr Atul Pande, President of VIA. “The sector is employing 8 million people. Food processing is not only having demand for the domestic consumption but also in the international market.” Urging the entrepreneurs about the opportunities in the sector, Mr Pande said, “If phenomenal opportunities in the six major sectors of food processing are tapped properly, it can increase our GDP to 14 per cent also.” Mr Pande also threw light on the upcoming 42 mega food parks across the country and 50 export hubs throughout the country.
Mr Om Jajodia, in his welcome remarks, welcoming the delegates, urged them to take maximum benefit of the first ever seminar organised by the VIA on the topic.
Mr Arun Khobragade, Mentor, DICCI, while comparing the program said: “According to the survey made by the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), the eating out segment of the country is about 4 lakh crore which is 40 per cent bigger than the IT sector. So, one can imagine the opportunities in the sector.” The program began with the inauguration of the exhibition by SMEs in food processing.
Dr Shuas Buddhe, Secretary of VIA proposed the vote of thanks.