OdishaLIVE Bureau

CII in collaboration with Government of Odisha organised a Farm2Fork, Seminar –cum- Exposition on Food Processing & Agribusiness Potential of Odisha on Saturday.
Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Empowerment, Fisheries & Animal Resources Development, and Public Enterprises Dr. Damodar Rout congratulated CII for organizing Farm2Fork.
He said the Government of India has recently launched Kissan Sampada Yojna to improve the food processing strength of the country. He further said local crops like Koraput Coffee, Lemon grass and other specialities can bring high benefits to the farmers in Odisha.
Addressing the gathering, Agriculture Production Commissioner Gagan Kumar Dhal informed that the farm growth of the state has been doubled in the last 5 years. Odisha’s per acre productivity is higher than the National coverage.
He said, in the next two months, APICOL will introduce single window mechanism and do away with manual application while indicating that the government is planning to bring in special policy on integrated agriculture with a potential earning of Rs 2 Lacs per acre.
He stressed the importance of clusters approach in improving the producers’ income. He mentioned that existing clusters in mango, ginger and turmeric would be further monitored and stabilized.
He urged CII to identify potentials new clusters to improve the market intelligence mechanism in partnering with CII and private sector.
‘Odisha Government is also working on state organic farming policy, diversification of agriculture, identification of special economic zone for farming and utilization of micro nutrients to improve soil fertility’, he said.
Gokul Patnaik, Member of Advisory Board of CII – Jubilant Bhartia Food & Agriculture Centre of Excellence (FACE) & Chairman, Global Agrisystem Pvt Ltd said time has come to look at agriculture in a more holistic manner. Agriculture should now be renamed as Agri-business and concentrated efforts should be made on integrating various aspects such as input, output, storing, processing, distribution and marketing methodologies to make it a profitable venture.
‘Gone are the days when farming was considered as a service to the country. It has to be profitable to improve the economic growth of the country’,Patnaik said.
He said there is a huge potential for Food Processing to add value in Agri-business. Currently only 7% of food produced in India goes to processing, whereas in China it is more than 40%.In Thailand it’s more than 70% and UK & USA it exceeds to 80%.
So, it is important to look at the trends worldwide. Citing Odisha’s example, he mentioned that Sorghum, finger millets have similar energy value as Quinoa, which has built up a global demand. Jackfruit, sweet potato, ginger, turmeric, mangoes, tamarind, maize have huge potential for food processing in Odisha.
‘Odisha can be a lead supplier of poultry to Delhi and Northern Regions which is currently being catered by Coimbatore.  Odisha can play a lead role to reach the demand for milk in West Bengal’,he said.
Amarendra Dash, Past Chairman, CII Odisha State Council & Chairman and Managing Director, Suryo Udyog Ltd mentioned that the current business of the sea food sector is hovering around 3000 Crore. The sector is primarily managed by home grown entrepreneurs
And it can reach the 10,000 crore mark   with a little handholding by the government. Issues like leasing of lands to farmers, road connectivity, quality and uninterrupted power supply can lead to high rise in the sea food sector,he informed.
Dr Pradipta Mohanty, Convenor-Agro & Food Processing Panel -CII Odisha State Council & Chairman, Surendra Agritech Pvt Ltd, in his welcome remarks said  the primary agenda of  Farm2Fork 2017 is to showcase and explore the opportunities in food and agri-business potential of the state.
He pointed out that Indians spend 30 % income on food products and expenditure on food is estimated to go up to INR 248 trillion by 2020. Urbanisation and increasing demand for ready to eat / processed food has a potential to create business worth of INR 4.25 lakh crore by 2020 and also generate nearly 9 million jobs.
Topics such as  Agri -Business Potential of Crops/Spices, Aquaculture, Poultry & Dairy Food, and Infrastructure & Allied Service were discussed in the technical sessions.