The Centre has called a meeting of state ministers on Friday, 20th sept, 2013. The purpose of meeting is to discuss ways to give a boost to the food processing sector in the 12th Five Year Plan period (2012-17).
Agriculture and Food Processing Minister Sharad Pawar will inaugurate the national level conference.
The objective of the conference is to find ways to energise the sector by addressing the problems faced by state governments in using plan funds and other state related issues in implementing various schemes.
Many states have not been able to properly utilise funds allocated in 2012-13 and also this year, under various food schemes, including the National Mission on Food Processing.
As state governments’ participation assumes significance for proper implementation of schemes, the Conference will deliberate on efficient use of plan funds and address their concerns including matters related to taxation, especially mandi tax on processed food and other market reforms.
The food processing sector has been growing at a faster pace in the last few years. The sector grew at an average annual rate of 8.6 per cent in the 11th Five Year Plan ending 2011-12, higher than farm and manufacturing sectors.
In 2011, nearly 17 lakh people were employed by food processing industries and another 48 lakh in the unorganised food processing activities.
To encourage food processing, the government has started several programmes with an aim to provide assistance for a range of activities including setting up of Mega Food Parks and cold chain infrastructure, modernising abattoirs, upgrading food testing labs and quality control.