President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday inaugurated the Platinum Jubilee Conference of the All India Food Processors’ Association (AIFPA) in New Delhi.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that over the years, the All India Food Processors’ Association has worked hard to achieve its goals. It has brought large and small food processing units on a common platform. It has synergised the efforts of all relevant stakeholders to establish integrated food chains and contributed to national well-being.
Kovind said, “India is not short of food today. When it comes to many agricultural commodities and even processed foods, we have a surplus. We command a growing slice of the global market. Now is the moment to scale up our ambitions, for wider economic benefit but most so for the prosperity of our farmers.”
The President further said, “we must fix missing links in the farm-to-fork value chain. The differential between what farmers gets for their crops and prices that food consumers pay, both within the country and internationally, is substantial.”
“It is important to reduce this. This will make for security of demand and supply and it will also ensure sustainability of farming as a profession. Without the farmer’s willingness and motivation to labour all day in the field, the food processing industry will dry up. It will not have its basic ingredient – agricultural produce. The farmer is not just their supplier; he is their inseparable partner,” Kovind added.
The President also said that the food processing industry has a major role to play here. It can help build the food value chain by being a bridge between the farmer and diverse and distant markets. It can enter into long-term contracts with farmers for specific commodities and items. And it can make investments and promote infrastructure in the form of cold chains, quick movement and management of food commodities, and technology that keeps food produce safe and edible for lengthy periods.