Indian food processing industry that is pegged over US$ 121 billion presents an opportunity for growth. However, there is a need for policy intervention and field level changes. Such a perspective alone will help India develop global competitiveness in many related sub-sectors and ensure that different sub-sectoral value chains are firmly entrenched in global value chains.
While there is an opportunity for growth, there is a need to focus on product conformity with global standards and quality, logistics traceability and safety, quality of packaging and delivery.
There are a multitude of stakeholders involved in different value chains activities (including the intra-national value chain). These stakeholders share a common vision yet need to collectively work towards evolving a competitive chain — farming to the fork.
The emphasis of the report, Farm 2 Fork: Making India Globally Competitive is on the diagnostics and policy intervention that would add value to different produce and commodities with minimal post-harvest, processing and distribution losses. Also, there is need to ensure that value accruals and earnings to stakeholders involved in different activities of sub-sector value chains sector reflect the value added by such stakeholders. Unfortunately, such is not the case today with producers and farmers enjoying smaller value accruals vis-à-vis marketers and input-output traders. This scenario not only hinders the growth of certain section of stakeholders but also creates a socio-economic divide. This is but one of the several constraints and challenges confronting the Indian food processing sector which merits immediate intervention.
The report summarises the opportunity for evolving a sustainable globally competitive sector by fostering, strengthening and aptly channelling the capabilities and capacities of the existing natural agglomeration of production and processing stakeholders. Such a strategy has already been implemented in certain parts of the country and has given desired results. This has benefitted the agglomerations and the stakeholders.
Global competition today is not between countries but between such agglomerations of producing and processing stakeholders. Systemic development of such agglomerations could help ensure more equity in value accruals to stakeholders involved in different value chain activities. This approach will also ensure more demand based production even while adopting global best practices in “farm to fork” activities.
This report seeks to identify how the Government of India can support such organic and natural agglomerations of units with a judicious mix of policy and field-level interventions. Such intervention may range from public-private partnership based implementation of common facilities and technical infrastructure, evolving a strong governance structures and industry associations, facilitation of credit, and development of technology to bring quality and conformance amongst others.