New Delhi: Indian food processing sector has potential to attract US$ 33 billion of investment and generate employment of 9 million persons days by FY 2024, said an ASSOCHAM-Grant Thorton Research paper.
The food processing is a key contributor to employment generation in India. The policymakers have identified food processing as a key sector in encouraging labour movement from agriculture to manufacturing. By 2024, food processing sector is expected to employ 9 million people in India and expected to generate about 8,000 direct and 80,000 indirect jobs in the state, the ASSOCHAM-Grant Thornton joint study on ‘Food Retail: Investment: Infrastructure’ noted.
According to the study, Indian food processing industry is pegged close to US$ 121 billion to US$ 130 billion. With the second largest arable land in the world, it is the largest producer of milk, pulses, sugarcane and tea in the world and the second largest producer of wheat, rice, fruits and vegetables.
Despite the massive production, the degree of processing is low and ranges between 2 to 35 percent for different produce. India is one of the top rankers in the production of bananas, guavas, ginger, papaya etc., although processing levels in the country remain limited. This indicates an extensive opportunity in the food processing sector, adds the paper.
According to the joint study, Indian food and retail market is projected to touch US$ 482 billion by FY 2020 from the current level of US$ 258 billion in 2015, adds the paper.
The unorganised sector accounts for 42 percent of India’s food processing industry. The sizeable presence of small-scale industries points to the sector’s role in employment generation. As per the study, though the market falls under the unorganised sector in the country, the organised sector has a larger share in the secondary processing segment than the primary one.
India is the world‘s second largest producer of food after China. The arable land area of 159.7 mn hectares (394.6 mn acres) is the second largest in the world (after the US). India has a strong raw material base for the food processing industry. India is one of the largest producers of certain fruits, vegetables, pulses, cereals and dairy products such as mangoes, papaya, potatoes, onions, ginger, check peas, rice, wheat, groundnuts, milk and eggs among others.