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Mar 24, 2017

Indian food processors are on track to tempt US$33bn in investment and generate employment for almost 10m in the next seven years.
That’s according to a joint research paper by Assocham, the apex industry body, and management consultant Grant Thornton, which assessed the direction of the food processing industry until 2024.
Already a key job contributor in India, policymakers have now identified food processing as central to their goal of moving workers from agriculture to manufacturing as part of the government’s flagship Make in India policy.
According to Grant Thornton, the segment is currently worth US$120bn-US$130bn, out of an overall food retail market worth nearly US$260bn in 2015, and predicted to reach US$480m by 2020.
 Yet despite being the world’s biggest producer of milk, pulses, sugarcane and tea, and the second largest harvester of wheat, rice, fruits and vegetables, India’s proportion of processed foods is low, ranging between 2% and 35% depending on produce category. 
This indicates an extensive opportunity in the food processing sector, the paper assesses, with globalisation and growing cross-border trade amounting to some 460m tons annually.
The share of processed food shipments, compared to total exports, has been around 12% over the last few years, though its value has been growing at an annual rate of 23.3%.
 The unorganised sector accounts for 42% of India’s food processing industry, the Assocham study found, suggesting that a sizeable presence of small-scale industries pinpoints the sector’s role in employment generation.
Source: food Navigator Asia

MoFPI aims to fast track agro processing economy in India, says Badal

Mar 24, 2017

Harsimrat Kaur Badal, minister of food processing industries, has said that her ministry aimed to fast track the agro processing economy in the country and expected that by the end of the year, major announcements would be delivered in foreign direct investment (FDI) in food retail. 
And after the government’s decision to abolish the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) model, she expected that the investment will be done more easily. She said, “The road map for the next model for investment facilitation is being worked out by the government, and it will be out soon.” 
Badal said that the FIPB has been abolished to simplify the process, and approval will be much faster than it is under the current system. She added that this was another step towards the ease of doing business.
Now FDI would come through the automatic route and is expected to boost the growth of the sector. To facilitate investment, the ministry has decided to create a targeting and facilitation desk. 
The desk shall help the investors collaborate, associate, network and source from India. The cell will also prepare a list of Indian companies for their foreign partners, the minister said. 
It will identify new potential investors and approach them in a focused and structured manner for investment and follow up on the investment cases by providing hand-holding services. The desk will also assist the ministry in organising roadshows, both in India and abroad, and organising investment meets, she added. 
Meanwhile, MoFPI has already started receiving investment requests from domestic players like Grofers, Big Basket, Metro Cash and Carry and Amazon India. Together, $700 million is expected to be invested by these companies, of which $500 million will be invested by Amazon alone. 
Avinash Ramchandran, director, public policy, Amazon, said the company was excited about the investment opportunity. “The ministry’s policies give us a lot of enthusiasm to be part of the initiative,” he said, adding that the retail giant was expecting an approval from the government for the investment soon. 
Ashneer Grover, chief financial officer, Grofers, said, “The food and vegetable supply chain needs more control by the retailers to get the desired results on wastages and quality.” 
If we could control the end-to-end supply chain, it would help us mitigate the wastages and maintain quality, he added, appreciating the investment opportunity in the food retail.
Badal, who has toured a few European countries and Japan in the past one year, is expected to visit the United States and Canada this year. 
Source: FNB News

India for expediting WTO deal

Mar 24, 2017

India on Thursday called for expediting negotiations at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on a trade facilitation agreement in services (TFS), saying multilateral bodies cannot afford to deliver slowly in the present global context.
I hope it will not take too long because the disillusion that multilateral institutions are delivering slowly cannot be afforded any longer in the political reality of the globe today, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at a workshop in New Delhi on TFS, organised by the Commerce Ministry and the World Bank.
India has presented a concept note at the WTO for a TFS Agreement, which proposes a way forward on comprehensively addressing the numerous border and behind-the-border barriers on the lines of the historic trade facilitation agreement in goods. 
The TFS proposal aims at liberalising rules for movement of professionals, liberalised visa regime and long-term business visas. 
Referring to the concerns raised by certain WTO members that TFS means more market access and not facilitation, Sitharaman said these two are completely different issues.
Facilitation is going to bring in transparency and also great deal of reduction of regulatory constraints, she said.
India is pushing for a TFA in services at the WTO as this sector has huge potential and contributes significantly to the country's economy.
Pointing out that the Indian services sector contributes over 55 per cent to the country's Gross Domestic Product, Sitharaman earlier said India was unable to leverage its strength in services to get the necessary benefits in the TFA in goods signed with the Asean group, for instance.
Meanwhile, India's paper for a proposed TFS Agreement has been well received by many member countries, WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo told reporters here during a visit last month.
Source: SME Time

Deadline to cease MBR fumigation of food imports may be extended

Mar 24, 2017

The Centre is likely to extend by a few months the permission given to its trading partners to fumigate consignments of pulses and lentils at Indian ports with methyl bromide — a fumigant banned in several countries because of its impact on the ozone layer — after the present extension expires on March 31.
Such a move would give countries selling pulses to India, such as Canada and Australia, a breather.
The Agriculture Ministry is in the final stages of formally deciding on extending the permission to fumigate import consignments at Indian ports after receiving several representations on the problems that exporting countries and domestic traders face. However, the extension being considered would be a short one and not year-long, a government official told BusinessLine.
MBR alternatives
The Centre is also working on alternatives to replace MBR fumigation. “We have to come up with an alternative. But it has to be equally effective in killing quarantine pests and not harm the environment,” the official said.
The plant quarantine department, in January this year, had informed agricultural counsellors and trade commissioners from several exporting countries that it did not intend to extend the permission for fumigating at Indian ports once the present exemption expires on March 31.
It argued that the permission, which was actually an exemption from the requirement that shipments should be fumigated before arriving at Indian ports, had been extended to exporters of pulses for more than a decade, and was leading to India’s ozone layer being depleted.
The fact that India is likely to harvest a record 22.1 million tonnes of pulses in the 2016-17 crop year (July-June) compared to 16.4 million tonnes last year, also helped the Centre in contemplating the tough measure.
The Committee of Secretaries on procurement of pulses, which met on Thursday, pointed out that there was record procurement of pulses during the current kharif season, and about 16.46 lakh tonnes of pulses have been procured. Prices of pulses on an average have fallen by about 30 per cent as compared to a year before.
Despite a comfortable situation in the domestic market, the Agriculture Ministry is now softening its stand because of growing pressure from exporting countries.
In fact, Canadian International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne, in his meeting with Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman earlier this month, had raised the issue of allowing fumigation. We realise that withdrawing the exemption this month-end could put many exporting countries and our traders in trouble. But we hope that a clear signal has gone out that the extension cannot go on forever, the official said.


Source: The Hindu Business Line

Groundnut exporters turn to domestic retail business

Mar 24, 2017

Amid subdued overseas markets, especially South East Asian countries like Vietnam, Indian groundnut exporters are turning to domestic retail businesses such as peanut products including peanut butter and confectioneries. Players like Agrocrops Exim Limited and others are looking to enhance exports even as they diversify into domestic retail.

Value addition in groundnut is happening in a small way, but is gradually increasing as demand in domestic as well as international market is growing. Some leading exporters have shown interest in it. As it is an untapped area, there is huge potential for value-added peanut products," said an official of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda).
According to Apeda, with export of groundnut on the decline, some of the bigger exporters may enter in this business in the near future.
Tamil Nadu-based Agrocrops Exim Limited, a leading groundnut exporter, is currently expanding its processing capacity by setting up new processing units across producing states such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. After this expansion, the company will start producing peanut butter and other confectioneries.
Saravanan Lokasundaram, chief executive officer of Agrocrops Exim said, We are planning to set up seven processing and grading units in the groundnut producing belt. The company will invest about Rs 175 crore and is also considering entering the retail segment with value-added peanut products.
Agrocrops Exim's plant, which the company claimed is India's largest processing unit with a daily capacity of 480 tonnes, will be operational in April this year. Two units in Tamil Nadu, one unit in Rajasthan and Orissa will be operational by end of this year.
India is the second largest producer of groundnut in the world after China. The country produces about five to six million tonnes groundnut every year and exports around 500,000 tonnes a year.
Source: Business Standard

Mango exporters from India eyeing South Korea and Iran markets this year

Mar 24, 2017

In addition to the US, EU and Australia, this year, Indian mango exporters are eyeing markets in South Korea and Iran. This will be their first attempt at penetrating these markets.
The first batch of the fruit is scheduled to be shipped on April 5, which will be subject to approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) and South Korean Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency (QIA).
Giving details, D M Sable, additional general manager, Export Cell Vapour Heat Treatment (VHT), Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB), informed, This year South Korea and Iran are the new export markets. First batch of the consignment will be sent in first week of April to South Korea, Japan, Australia, European Union, Iran and the US. Once we get the approval, we will send first batch of mango via air route on April 5 and via sea route on April 10.
Explaining MSAMB’s role in streamlining exports of the fruit and the efforts taken by the board to keep ready all necessary requirements, Sable said, We are ready with the facilities for inspection by the representative from USFDA for approval and to fine tune with norms set by US authorities that the consignments are free of pests and any other issues. MSAMB is set with registration and facilities like hot water treatment (HWT), irradiation and vapour heat treatment.
He added that the HWT facility was started last year in Goregoan, Mumbai, to ensure safe exports. It has received good response from traders.
New Export Markets
South Korea
Dr Sudhanshu, deputy-general manager, regional head, western region, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export & Development Authority (APEDA), stated, In 2015, South Korea had showed keen interest in importing mangoes from India and had been discussing the same with APEDA. In 2016, on pre-condition that in presence of deputed delegate the processing would be done, the consignment was not sent. The representative arrived in the month of July and only nominal export was done.This year it is pre-planned for full year and the delegate is expected to arrive in April.
Meanwhile, APEDA's advisory for exporters, stated, After conducting the Pest Risk Analysis (PRA), South Korean Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency (QIA), has agreed upon importation of Indian mangoes to South Korea. VHT at fruit core temperature up to 47.5°C or higher for 20 minutes or HWT at over 48°C for 60 minutes or more as post- harvest mitigation measures for the quarantine concern pests to their country.
Talking about Iran market, Sudhanshu said, Even though Iran is new market for mango exports this year, the decision over it is yet to finalise. We have invited the delegation which is set to arrive in the month of April to provide final approval so that we initiate further process. Few exporters have shown their interest towards New Zealand and Mauritius.
Insaram Ali, president, All India Mango Growers Association, spoke on the debate over higher shipment costs to Iran. He informed, It is yet to be confirmed that the consignments will be sent to Iran as the shipment costs are high. 
Exports of mangoes to Australia, commenced in the year 2011, with VHT as post- harvest mitigation measures from the pest-free areas of Lucknow, Saharanpur and Barabanki regions in Uttar Pradesh. 
The recent advisory issued by APEDA for exporters to harness market potential of exports to Australia, stated, Department of agricultural and water resources has accepted the Operational Work Plan (OWP) as another post-harvest quarantine mitigation measure. Australian Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON) has permitted OWP at Krushak facility at Lasalgoan and Irradiation Facility Centre at Vashi, Navi Mumbai.
The country's total production this year is around 1.75 lakh metric tonne of which around 4,500 lakh metric tonne of mango exports are estimated.
For this year, MSAMB has set the target of 600 metric tonne of mango irradiation on obtaining approvals from USFDA. The exports hub for mango are based at Mumbai and Delhi. The facilities for treating the produce are located at Vashi and Lucknow respectively.
Source: FNB News

Dehydrated onion exports decrease by 50% this year

Mar 24, 2017

Huge carry-forward and less demand led to decline in dehydrated onion exports from India by almost 50 per cent to 15,000 tonnes this year as against 30,000 tonnes in 2016. According to the industry, last year's exports were good due to lower prices, as a result many importing countries like Russia, Germany, France and USA also have sufficient stocks.

Internationally, Indian dehydrated onion prices are lower than China and Egypt but as consuming countries have sufficient stocks, demand has come down by 50 per cent so far and will not gain much during this year. India's total export may not be more than 40,000 tonnes, said Vitthalbhai Koradiya, managing director of Maharaja Dehydration.
India had exported about 50,000 tonnes in 2016 and the industry is expecting to export about 35,000-40,000 tonnes. India is offering dehydrated onions at $1,650 per tonne while China and Egypt offer it in $2,000 a tonne.
On the other hand, the country is having about 20,000 tonnes of dehydrated onion carry-forward stock unsold with the producers. Exports begin in January every year and by June end, the country exports almost 85-90 per cent.
Asgar Chhatariya, managing director of Chhatariya Foods said, As last year onion production was good and domestic prices were in control onion dehydration had increased to over 75,000 tonnes. After export and domestic consumption, there is about 20,000 tonnes unsold dehydrated onion available with the producers at the opening of the season in 2017.
There are 100 onion dehydration units in India and of it 85 units are located in Gujarat, 10 units are in Maharashtra. Usually at this time dehydration units runs in two shifts but this year, many units are running in one shift.
As per the first advance estimate of department of agriculture, onion production is estimated at 19.73 million tonnes for the year 2016-17, down by 6 per cent from 20.93 million tonnes in 2015-16.
Meanwhile, exports of fresh onion have nearly doubled between April-November 2016. According to Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) data, in 2015-16, the total exports of onion between April-November was around 6,07,374 tonnes, while in this fiscal, between April-November 2017, the total exports were around 14,63,552 metric tonnes.
Source: FNB News