“The government is fully prepared for the adverse situations as it has stocked adequate food grains,” said K V Thomas, union minister of state (independent charge) for consumer affairs, food and public distribution, while inaugurating the FoodCon 2012 - Conference on Advanced Technologies for Global Food Market on July 27, 2012 at Chennai organised by Tamil Nadu Technology Development and Promotion Centre (TNTDPC) of CII.
Thomas explained about the various schemes and programmes that the government of India is implementing in partnership with state governments and Union Territory administrations. Besides, the government is also implementing schemes to specifically address the nutrition-related concerns, especially among women and children, through schemes like Integrated Child Development Services, Mid-Day Meal, Annapoorna, etc. It was also mentioned by K V Thomas that the growth of the food processing industry is critical for raising the income levels of farmers as a strong and dynamic food processing sectors plays a vital role in diversification and commercialisation of agriculture, enhances shelf life, ensures value addition to agriculture produce and generates employment.
S Chandramohan, chairman, Economic Affairs and Taxation Sub-committee, CII (SR), and president and group CFO, TAFE, discussed about the diversified and demanding issues in the food sector such as lack of research, food safety, cold storage capability, and infrastructure and food security. Given some suggestions on taxation, credit access (NABARD, etc.), food safety laws and applied research and development. He highlighted to the government to extend support in dedicated freight corridors, land acquisitions, GST relaxations, etc.
A Padmasingh Isaac, conference chairman, FoodCon 2012, and founder and chairman, Aachi Group of Companies, addressed about the need of effective awareness in the light of technology. He also highlighted the importance to strengthen the critical challenges faced like lack of infrastructure, investment/funding, best practices, cooperation and interaction among the government and the industry, in addition to explore the new business opportunities in the global market.
C R Swaminathan, past chairman, CII (SR), discussed the increased growth phase of the food industry in India and the insight about the emerging trends in the global market. He articulated CII’s involvement in integrated and inclusive development of the food industry and emphasised on the hygiene and safe food products, which would result in competing internationally and ensuring the overall market sustainability.
The subject area of the conference attracted participation from national and international grounds. The conference was well-attended by 200 participants with representatives from US, China, Italy, Malaysia, etc.