The "Vision 2015" has now become the official version of GOI proclaiming the intention of the country to give a boost to the food processing sector. The contour of the projections contained in the Vision document was known for some time but with the Lok Sabha taking cognizance of the plans projected by MFPI, it is time to get down to the "bolts and nuts" details for achieving the dream targets set forth,to be achieved in 5 years
According to the statement made by the Minister for Food Processing Industries, GOI, Mr S. K. Sahay in the Lok Sabha, his ministry's "Vision 2015" plan envisages tripling the size of the processed food sector by increasing the level of processing of perishables from 6 percent to 20 percent, an herculean task indeed. It further projects to increase the value addition from 20 percent to 35 percent and boost the share of Indian food exports in the global food trade from 1.5 percent to 3 percent within 5 years. There is a fair amount of word play in the document using niche words like "integrated strategy", "vision to promote agribusiness", "strategy and action plan" for the food-processing sector, etc which do not mean anything.
Five year period is too short to achieve any thing substantial, especially in a country like India where a conducive atmosphere for unhindered growth of food industry still does not exist. A more appropriate approach would have been to evolve a "Vision 2025" mission with sufficient provision for periodic mile stones to be reached. There is a perception amongst foreign investors that too much bureaucratic control and unbearable red tapism make India a miserable destination for investment. Putting in place a transparent and truly free environment with minimum centralized control can only provide sufficient impetus for growth of any industry. Government must confine itself to only protecting the consumer from economic exploitation and the dangers of unsafe foods. Provide the right atmosphere and see how the private sector will respond and flourish.