Tumkur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that his government would accord top priority to the food processing industry in a bid to empower farmers and strengthen the agriculture economy.
Speaking after inaugurating ‘India food park,’ a 110-acre world class food processing facility at Vasanthanarasapura in Sira taluk of Tumkur district, Modi said the government would also encourage private participation in the sector.
Food processing will help farmers in adding value to their produce and also in reducing wastage of food products. Wastage of food and agricultural commodities amounted to a loss of Rs 30,000 crore to Rs 40,000 crore a year, he said.
Modi said he had asked soft drink manufacturers to mix their aerated drinks with five per cent natural fruit juice.
“It will go a long way in helping the farmers find a new market for their produce. I am not asking for much. If five per cent of juice is added to aerated drinks, farmers need not even go in search of a market,” he said. The move will go a long way in helping farmers get remunerative prices for their produce.
The prime minister said Indian farmers should be given access to global markets. “Mangoes, if made into pickles, provide more revenue to the farmers. We have to encourage them to take up new initiatives, introduce new technologies and help them export their products,” he said. Modi pointed out that there was a craving for Indian food around the globe.
“If we produce packaged ready-to-eat food, the world will buy it. There is a global market out there,” he said.
Constructed at a cost of Rs 145 crore under a public-private partnership model, the food park is expected to give a fillip to agriculture-based food production in the State. The park will have pulping, milling, flouring, spice and dal units, cold storage units spread over 80,000 square feet to keep fruits and vegetables fresh round the year and manufacturing units.