Tomato, Onion and Potato has caught attention of many eyeballs in the past year. Them being thrown quite often on the roads in absence of fair prices. This budget has allocated special fund to fight this problem.
Addressing a Press Conference on Budget allocations for the Ministry, Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal said that in the Budget 2018-19, the Government has moved forward towards achieving the goal of doubling the income of farmers by 2022 and has charted a road map for arresting price volatility of TOP (Tomato, Onion and Potato) in the country. Allocation for the Ministry has been doubled in the current Budget 2018-19 to Rs. 1400 crore, the Minister added.
Lauding the vision of the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister for the initiative ‘Operation Greens’, the Minister said, “the poor and the middle class have been bearing the brunt of price volatility of Tomato, Onion and Potato (TOP) for decades together. Under Operations Greens we shall be creating a sustainable road map to ensure that Tomato Onion Potato (TOP) are available in every nook and corner of the country round the year without any price volatility.” A sum of Rs. 500 crore has been earmarked for this purpose in the Budget 2018, the Minister said.
Government is looking at compressing the supply chains and creating appropriate climate infrastructure for natural preservation of Tomato Onion Potato (TOP) and promoting Farmers Producers Organizations, Agri Logistics Processing facilities, and professional management.
Smt. Badal informed that one of the most revolutionary initiatives announced in Budget 2018-19 is to give impetus to the food processing sector is establishing Specialized Agro Processing Financial Institutions to unlock finance for establishing food processing industries. These institutions would help overcome the deterrents faced while installing food processing projects that are capital intensive and have long gestation period, by ensuring timely, accessible and affordable credit to this sector, the Minister added.
The Minister also lauded the thrust provided for promoting agri-clusters and Mega Food Parks in the Budget to strengthen farmers. The initiatives taken by the Government are:
Talking about attracting foreign investments in the sector, Smt. Badal informed that the World Food India 2017, organized by the Ministry, attracted participation from 61 countries, 60 Global CEOs and more than 200 global companies. The event resulted in signing of MOUs worth US $ 14 billion, out of which projects have already started grounding their investments in India, worth close to US $ 4 billion. The FDI has been progressively increasing in the sector at a fast pace due to the support given by the Government, the Minister added.
Food processing sector constitutes around 8% and 10% of Gross Value Added (GVA) in manufacturing and agriculture sector in 2015-16. Value of processed food export has increased to USD 13.9 billion on 2016-17 which constitutes 11.2% of India’s total export. The Minister added that the Government has been able to bring central focus to food processing industry in terms of its potential to increase farmer’s income, provide employment and reduce wastage.
Other dignitaries present on the dais included Shri Jagdish Prasad Meena, Secretary, Food Processing Industries, along with other senior officers of the Ministry.