West Bengal will take part in the World Food India (WFI) 2017 as ‘focus State’ and take full advantage of the platform that the Union ministry of food processing industries has created, said Ms Nandini Chakrabarty, food processing industries and horticulture secretary of West Bengal at a road show organized on Friday by CII ahead of the World Food India 2017 billed for New Delhi from 3-5 November 2017.
While she added we look forward to that, Mr Sanjeev Chopra, additional chief secretary of state's agricultural department felt the state’s participation in the WFI 2017 will be a golden moment for Bengal to showcase its potential as well as the huge success it has achieved in the sector. It will be a platform to showcase its innovative food processing methods, too, he said.
Mr J P Meena, secretary to the Union ministry of food processing industries (MoFPI), WFI 2017, chose to add Bengal’s enterprising farmers to the list. WFI 2017, which will be the largest of its kind held in this country, will be a wonderful opportunity for stakeholders in Bengal to interact and network with global and Indian leaders across the food value chain.
WFI will also provide global businesses with a platform to explore Indian market across the value chain in food processing and allied industries as well as in food retail, he said.
Mr Meena also said the growth of the food processing industry in India is higher than the GDP growth. The exports of the products earned a foreign exchange of $31 bn in 2016-17. We hope to maintain the same growth rate, he explained.
Earlier, Ms Nandini Chakrabarty, said that the state government is working on a plan to transform the state into a hub for cold storage, grading and sorting, processing for value additions and packaging of products for North-East and neighbouring countries of Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
As to cold chain infrastructure, the West Bengal government is also thinking of a mix of cold storage infrastructure from reefer vans, pack houses, cold storages to small traditional methods of storage with necessary innovations which are energy efficient and light, easy to maintain.
The state is preparing an agribusiness and food processing logistics blueprint. The packhouse in Malda is now operational. We have seen an increase in exports of mangoes and litchis from the state by more than 40% this year. The pack house has pre cooling chamber, cold storage units and hot water immersion treatment facilities, she said.
The Barasat Pack house is also expected to be operational soon. We will in consultation with Apeda set up a VHT facility adjacent to it. We intend to make the Irradiation facility at Chinsurah in Hooghly operational by the end of the year. The perishable cargo complex at Bagdogra is also expected to be operational at a very early date, she added.