Expressing concern over food produce going waste, the experts opined that lack of skilled manpower and shortage of infrastructure has been resulting in wastage of upto 40 per cent of the total food produce in India every year.
Discussing the issue during a conference at the national institute of food technology enterprenour and management (NIFTEM) in Sonipat on Thursday, they felt the need to train skilled manpower of around 35 lakh persons in next seven years for the food processing industry besides creating the cold storage chains across the country to cut down the wastage of food including food grain, vegetables and other farm grown items.
Admitting the grave problem of wastage, minister of state for agriculture and food processing industries Tariq Anwar said that every year India faces a loss of Rs 50 thousand crores worth of both perishable and non-perishable food item. "After 1960, India went on to become a food surplus country from being a food deficit country but wastage has still not been brought under control.
To arrest this gross wastage, the government has taken various steps including training people and creating infrastructure", he said while responding to the TOI. The minister stated that FDI in the retail sector had been allowed with the conditions to invest 50 percent of the total investment in creating infrastructure like cold storages and processing units.
The experts also felt the need to set up more NIFTEM-like institutes to train the people as presently India has only two institutes- Institute of Crop Processing Technology in Thanjavur (Tamil Nadu) besides the NIFTEM. The NIFTEM vice chancellor Ajit Kumar informed that a project to set up 12 such institutes is awaiting the nod of the ministry.