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India seeks Canadian investment in food processing

Toronto, Sep 11 (Calcutta Tube) Subodh Kant Sahai, India’s minister for food processing industries, has called upon Canadian companies to invest in the fast growing sector of the Indian economy.

Sahai, who is here to seek investment and knowhow, said the Indian food processing sector was growing by more than 14 percent and many Canadian companies have evinced keen interest to come to India.

He said his talks with Canadian Agricultural Minister Gerry Ritz, and premiers as well as agriculture ministers of Manitoba and Quebec provinces, have yielded ‘fruitful’ results in cooperation in this sector.

‘I met about 15 Canadian companies today and told them that India allows 100 percent FDI in food processing industries and offers a whole lot of tax concessions. There is a big opportunity for them as the food processing sector is set to grow very rapidly. But while Indian FDI in Canada is only about $3 billion, Canadian FDI in India is just $600 million.

Canadian companies should advantage of these opportunities in the food processing sector,” Sahai told IANS here. ‘Canadian investment will also raise the level of the two-way trade between the two countries which is not very much – a little more than $4 billion,” the minister said.

He said, ‘We have signed three MoUs with Canadian universities to link them with the Indian Institute Crop Processing Technology at Thanjavur. While two MoUs – with the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Manitoba – were signed earlier, we have signed one with Montreal’s McGill University this time. We are also looking at more exchanges of students and scientists to boost cooperation in this sector which will play a crucial role in ushering in a second green revolution in India.”

Pointing to the massive wastage of perishable products due to lack of cold storage facilities in India, Sahai said Canada’s experience in supply chain will be very helpful for India.

‘The thrust of our government is to create cold-storage and warehouse facilities across the country, and our steps have helped reduced wastage by Rs 10,000 crore (USD 2200). My ministry aims to cut this wastage massively and process 20 percent of the total food produce by 2015. But we need massive investments,” he said.

A recent report by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has put losses due to vegetable and fruit wastage alone at Rs 63,000 crore (USD 14,000) in 2009-10.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at gurmukh.s@ians.in)

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