Modernisation of India’s food industry to enhance the quality of the country’s meat and poultry products is urgently needed, according to the Minister of Food Processing Industries, Subodh Kant Sahai.
Having already experienced the white revolution, which saw India achieve a 15 per cent share of the global market for milk and milk products, the time has now come for a pink revolution in the country’s meat and processing sector, said Sahai.
It is estimated that meat exports account for only 2 per cent of the global market despite India’s large livestock population.
Speaking yesterday at the first national conference of the Meat and Poultry Processing Board (NMPPD), Sahai outlined a need for more hygienic methods in meat and poultry processing, and called for increased investment in the sector.
Call for increased investment
There is potential to reap large gains from investing in the food industry due to the growing purchasing power of India’s middle classes. People spend between 40-45 per cent of their income on food, the Minister said.
He also emphasised the tax-free nature of the food-processing sector, saying: “There is no income tax, not central excise in this sector. I have also urged the states to put perishables at zero per cent taxation and a four per cent cap on non-perishables.”
There are no restrictions on the export of poultry and poultry products, and the government provides some transport subsidiaries. Restrictions on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) have also been lifted, meaning that 100 per cent FDI is now permitted to tap into available opportunities across the sector.
Hygienic processing methods
The government has launched a comprehensive scheme for the modernization of abattoirs across the country in order to address quality standards, contamination and deterioration of produce, and the amount of meat wasted.
Urging entrepreneurs to adopt more hygienic methods in meat and poultry processing, Sahai emphasised the potential gains.
“We will not allow unhygienic products to be sold to Indian consumers. Stick to hygienic processes, it will help you raise your income by up to 10 times,” he said.
The Ministry of Food Packaging Industry (MFPI) is providing incentives to encourage research and development within food processing for improved packaging and product and process development.
The Indian poultry industry has been growing at varying rates of between 8-15 per cent annually. Currently worth over INR 300bn (€4bn), this is expected double to over INR 600bn (€8bn) by 2010.
Development of the industry is expected to create employment in rural India and bring prosperity to millions of citizens, said Sahai.