Wednesday, Dec 17, 2003
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Such a move will not only result in better returns for producers, but also improve the quality and quantity of the produce, by imparting training and educating the farmers about good practices. Presently, the committees provide an interface between the producers and the processors.
This was one of the recommendations made by Y.C. Deveshwar, chairman, Agriculture Council, of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Addressing the CII's Foodpro-2003 conference here today, on `Food opportunity for India - creating forward and backward linkages,' he said a direct linkage between the processors and the producers could pave the way for new initiatives.
Urging the industry to "work through deficiencies," including those resulting from the absence of adequate infrastructure, Mr. Deveshwar, also the ITC Chairman, called for "one single law to deal with the entire food chain, from produce to products." The focus should be on initiating efforts, which act as a catalyst in improving the farmers' living standards.
Speaking on `Food service distribution - opportunities and challenges', S. Raghunandhan, chief executive officer of Radhakrishna Foodlands, said though the market for the sector was estimated at Rs. 27,000 crores, "the Government does not recognise it as an industry."
Noting that trends in the Indian food market included a shift from fresh to frozen and processed food and having greater demand for convenience foods, he said the current distribution model from producers to consumers involved a number of intermediaries resulting in cost escalation of the end product. There was lack of awareness of the significance of safety among many in the chain.
The archaic laws governing the sector "are hampering the growth" of the industry, Mr. Raghunandhan said while suggesting scrapping of the committees and setting of a nodal agency to address the issues pertaining to the food industry.
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