Food Processing Industries includes process under which any raw product of dairy, animal husbandry, agriculture,meat, poultry or fishing is transformed through a process (involving labour, power & capital) in such a way that its original physical properties undergo a change and the transformed good/product has commercial value and is suitable for human and animal consumption.
Food processing includes value addition to the products through methods such as addition of food additives preservation, drying etc. in order to preserve food substances in an effective manner, enhance their shelf life and quality.
SIGNIFICANCE OF FOOD PROCESSING INDUSTRIES
The Food Processing Industry (FPI) is of immeasurable importance in providing direct linkages in two pillars of the economy, i.e. agriculture and industry. Other significance are as follows-
Employment Generation: It bridges Agriculture and Manufacturing by providing direct and indirect employment opportunities. It further can curb urban migration by localising employment opportunities.
Increasing farmers income: With the rise in demand for agri-products there will be commensurate rise in the price paid to the farmer, thereby doubling their income.
Reducing malnutrition: Value addition for the processed food for eg- Fortification of foods with vitamins and minerals can reduce the nutritional gap in the population.
Boosts Trade and Earns Forex: India can boost exports by investing in processing industries and earning forex. For e.g. Indian Basmati rice has a huge demand in Arabian countries.
Curbing Inflation: The food supplies can stay in tune as processed food has more shelf life thus keeping with the demand thereby controlling food-inflation.
Crop-diversification: Farmers will be incentivised by the rising requirement of inputs of different crops.
CHALLENGES FOR FOOD PROCESSING INDUSTRIES
Heath Associated Risk: Processed foods may not be nutritionally balanced and may pose a health risk for example if the food has excess use of fertilizers and pesticide it can pose a problem to the people. Further protection is needed from harmful practices like adulteration.
Low value-added: Such processing units are generally working under the unorganised sector which usages primitive technology This results in lower value-addition at the processing stage, especially from a nutritional point of view.
Unregulated quality and safety: The rising number of players, and unhealthy competition, involved in the food value-chain, makes implementation of quality and safety norms difficult. It makes tough for the regulating agencies to monitor these unfair practices
Low consumer awareness: Consumers are generally unaware about several nutritional and food safety and quality aspects.
Food processing industries have huge advantages which are specific to the Indian economy. It has the ability to lift millions out of poverty and hunger. This industry should be developed in a way keeping in mind the interests of small scale industry along with attracting big ticket domestic and foreign investments.
The Food Processing industry needs a comprehensive policy that will ensure that various initiatives across the departments are aligned to the overall goal of ensuring awareness, affordability, availability, access, quality and safety of food. In order to ensure food security for the country requires effort by all stakeholders including government, private player, NGO, SHG etc.