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India’s organic food market is growing at 17 percent annually and has the potential to grow at a faster pace on rising demand for health and wellness food products across the world, Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said on Friday.
According to a PTI report: Badal and Minister for Women and Child Development (WCD) Smriti Irani jointly inaugurated an organic food festival for women entrepreneurs at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium here.
The festival with a theme ‘Unleasing India’s Organic Market Potential’ has been organised by both the ministries with CII as the industry partner.
More than 180 women entrepreneurs, self-help groups (SHGs) and co-operatives are taking part in this three-day exhibition organised in the national capital during February 21-23.
Addressing the event, Badal said the two ministries have come together to give women entrepreneurs in the organic sector “wings to fly and reach the sky”.
She said this festival would be organised six times a year across India, and the plan is to make it an international exhibition in the near future.
She said the entire world is looking towards organic and wellness food, which is required for both physical and mental health.
“In organic and health foods, India is a power house,” Badal said, adding that there are many parts of India which are naturally organic such as Sikkim, hilly states and tribal belts.
This organic festival provides a platform to women entrepreneurs to connect with consumers as well as retailers, Badal said.
“The organic sector in India is growing by almost 17 percent every year… In times to come, the trend is going to grow much faster,” the minister said.
Earlier this month, Badal had said the organic food market will touch Rs 75,000 crore in the next five years.
Badal said food processing, value addition and organic food would be instrumental in the government’s target to double farmers’ income.
“Under the able leadership of Minister of Food Processing, we celebrate the entrepreneurial potential of over 180 women in this segment of organic food under the aegis of this festival,” said Irani, who is also the Textile Minister.
The government has ensured that women entrepreneurs get Mudra loans to start their venture, Irani said.
She said foreign direct investment (FDI) in the food processing sector has increased substantially under the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The government is providing sustainable environment not only to farmers but also to entrepreneurs by engaging them with latest technology in food processing, the WCD minister said.
Irani stressed on providing access to latest food processing technology available globally to entrepreneurs, especially women.
Apart from women entrepreneurs, the minister suggested that Divyang citizens should be part of this organic food festival from next year. Tribal produce and nutritious food supported by Poshan Abhiyan should also be included.
Food Processing Secretary Pushpa Subrahmanyam highlighted that India is ranked number one in organic producers and ninth in area under cultivation for organic products.
The country produced around 1.7 million tonnes of certified organic products in 2017-18. It exported organic products worth US$ 515 million in the same year.
To boost organic products and women entrepreneurship, the two ministries had signed a memorandum of understanding last year to help them get connect with government’s financial schemes.
The overall effort is targeted towards strengthening organic branding for India by enhancing direct linkage of local producers with buyers as well as boosting processing potential of organic output.
During the festival, training programmes will be organised for women entrepreneurs in the area of packaging, storage, marketing, innovations on renewable energy, food safety regulations and organic certifications.