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Minister Tells Meat Industry to Modernise

by 5m Editor
5 November 2009, at 9:20am

INDIA - A Minister has called on the meat and poultry processing sector to invest, modernise and raise standards or face growing competition from higher quality imported products.

Saying that the time has come for a 'pink revolution' in the country's meat and poultry processing industry, Food Processing Industries Minister, Subodh Kant Sahai, called for increased investment in the sector.

New Kerala reports that he said: "The country has seen the Green Revolution. Today there is talk of a second Green Revolution. The White Revolution has resulted in India getting a 15 per cent share of the global market for milk and milk products.

"The time has now come for a pink revolution, that is, a revolution in your sector."

Mr Sahai was speaking to delegates at the inaugural session of the first national conference of the National Meat and Poultry Processing Board (NMPPB). He is attending the three-day conference with the theme 'Meat and Poultry Processing Industry in India - Potentials and Challenges'.

Stating that people spent 40 to 45 per cent of their income on food, the minister said: "You name any of the major global retail chains, 60 per cent of their business is based on agri-business."

He also said if investors and entrepreneurs failed to exploit the potential in the meat and poultry processing sector, products from other countries would enter the Indian market.

Mr Sahai called for increased investment in the sector, and described the challenges as opportunities.

He told delegates: "Invest in this sector. The buying power of our middle class consumers is increasing. Despite the global financial sector, the food processing sector in India grew in double digits by nearly 14 per cent."

The minister also pointed out that the food processing sector had been made completely tax-free.

"There is no income tax, no central excise in this sector. I have also urged the states to put perishables at zero per cent taxation and a four per cent cap on non-perishables."

Furthermore, Minister Sahai called upon entrepreneurs to adopt hygienic methods in meat and poultry processing ventures.

"We will not allow unhygienic products to be sold to Indian consumers. Stick to hygienic procedures, it will help you raise your income by up to 10 times."

New Kerala reports that NMPPB chairman, K.D. Singh, said India had the world's largest livestock population.

"We have got 50 per cent of the world's buffaloes and 20 per cent of cattle. Yet, only one per cent of meat gets converted into value-added products," Mr Singh said.

However, he added, meat export from India was growing at the rate of 30 per cent per annum.

Food Processing Industries Secretary, Ashok Sinha, said there was a growing need for setting up a chain of laboratories and training institutes to boost India's meat and poultry processing sector.

"The board (NMPPB) will give thrust to R&D (research and development) work in the sector," Mr Sinha said.

The key objectives of NMPPB, set up 26 March this year, include providing technical help to the industry in setting up and modernising abattoirs, helping it establish infrastructure for backward and forward linkages for traceability of meat and poultry processing sector, and setting up R&D labs and training centres, according to New Kerala.