Subodh Kant Sahai, minister of state for food processing industries, advised organised retailers to include commission agents in their supply chain, instead of sourcing directly from producers.
“I have asked the retail sector to make arthiyas (commission agents) a part of their supply chain,” Sahai told the media after United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi laid the foundation stone for National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) at Kundli, Haryana.
NIFTEM is first-of-its-kind institute in the country, and will be set up in a 100 acre land. The government has allocated Rs 245 crore for the construction of the institute.
“Looking at the market, the allocation is expected to go up to Rs 300 crore,” PI Suvarathan, secretary, MOFPI, said.
Commenting on the closure of retail outlets in Uttar Pradesh and Orissa, Sahai said: “It is very unfortunate that retail outlets are being made a political debate.” Such outlets will generate huge demand for processed food, he added.
The minister also expressed concern over the low levels of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the processed food sector even though 100 per cent FDI is allowed in the sector. “Production is not enough for economic viability. We will have to go for value addition as only 6 per cent of agricultural produce is processed in India as compared to 70-80 per cent in other parts of the world,” the minister said.