'FDI in multi-brand retail to boost food processing industry'

'FDI in multi-brand retail to boost food processing industry' New Delhi: The government on Friday said FDI in multi-brand retail would boost the growth of the food processing industries and invited private players to invest in this sector to tap the huge potential.

"The steady emergence of the organised food retail and the decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail will surely take the Indian food processing industry to greater heights," Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Tariq Anwar said at the Third International Potato Expo 2012 organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce.

The private sector must join hands with the government in improving the prospects of the food processing sector, the minister added.

Potato and potato-based products, which contributes 85 percent of the USD 3 billion Indian snack market, would be a major contributor to the growth in the food processing sector, he added.

"I would urge the Indian Chamber of Commerce to rope in investors and entrepreneurs interested to set up processing units for potato and also other food items," Anwar said, adding that Food processing Ministry is providing fiscal incentives for setting up projects.

The Minister saisd that the government is targeting to increase the level of processing of perishable items from 6 percent to 20 percent, value-addition from 20 percent to 35 percent and share in global food trade from 1.5 percent to 3 percent by 2015.

On importance of potato, Anwar said the country is the second largest producer of potato contributing to 10-11 percent of the world potato production. China is the largest producer with a share of 22-23 percent to global production.