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In India's Farms, Food Processing Opportunities Growing Rapidly

India’s farms are slowly making a revolution. Global food companies are beginning to take note of the potential of the Indian market and horticulture produce has been outpacing grain output, cold chains are finally coming up.

The early sign of the big change is showing up in numbers from the agricultural fields. In the last five years, India’s horticulture production has grown at nearly 4.76%, higher than 3.09% registered by the food grain output. Now the country’s farmers are getting ready with more produce that could be processed and served to the consumers.

Nearly 109 cold chains, long considered the weakest link for India’s food processing sector, are now operational, most of which have commenced in the last three years. Another 133 cold chains have received formal approvals.

The government wants manufacturing units to help develop the value chain up to the farmer, cutting down on waste of agricultural produce and also getting more food to be processed for abundant availability for consumers, while containing price inflation.

SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-processing Clusters) has an allocation of Rs. 6,000 crore, hoping to develop modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management and from the farm gate to the retail stores.

Just 10% of India's agricultural produce being processed, India has a large potential to go up in agriculture value chain. Several global corporations are trying to integrate their operations to India’s agricultural sector, like what is being called the ‘fruit circular economy’.

If processed food and beverages can reach over one billion Indians, it has the potential to reinvigorate India’s economy and it will also help meet the Prime Minister’s vision of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.