New Delhi: The Organic Food Festival would provide an opportunity to women entrepreneurs for capacity building and economic empowerment, said Union Minister for Food Processing Industries, Harsimrat Kaur Badal. Inaugurating the 3-day long festival in New Delhi today, the Union Minister highlighted the need for providing such platforms on regular basis for financial inclusion and empowerment of women and said that the Government is planning to hold organic food festivals more frequently and in different parts of the country depending on unique organic products of a particular region.
The Organic Food Festival was jointly inaugurated by Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union Minister for Food Processing Industries and Smriti Irani, Union Minister for Women and Child Development and Textiles. Rameshwar Teli, Minister of State for Food Processing Industries and Debasree Chaudhuri, Minister of State for Woman and Child Development were also present. The Organic Food Festival for women entrepreneurs is as an outcome of the MoU (which aims at building capacities of women entrepreneurs) signed between the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) and Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD).
Badal said India has huge potential for organic produce and market. She added that most of the hilly areas and tribal areas in India are naturally organic. The FPI Minister said that while other parts of the world are making special efforts to turn towards organic production, India has natural advantages which must be leveraged. She further said that this organic festival can be of international scale in the near future.
Irani said that the Ministry of Food Processing Industries can, through the Organic Food Festival, engage with technology groups so that the latest technology can be made available to women entrepreneurs.
Pushpa Subrahmanyam, Secretary, FPI said that Ministry of FPI will showcase achievements of women entrepreneurs through this festival. She said that the Food and Beverage (F&B) industry in India is the fifth largest sector in manufacturing and that, India has the highest number of organic producers in the world.
Spread over an area of 6,000 sqm of space, this is the first such event where more than 180 women entrepreneurs and self-help groups are participating from over 25 States and Union Territories with very interesting products on display from across the country. These are indigenous to the geography and are otherwise difficult to access.
Kiwi from Arunachal Pradesh, black wheat, pesto sauce from Ladakh, chia seeds cookies and apricot oil from Uttarakhand are available at the fest. This festival will strive to provide linkages to women producers to market and supply chains, thereby facilitating their financial inclusion.
The Festival is open to the public who can relish numerous varieties of organic and healthy products of various states. People will also gain knowledge about organic products grown and produced in different regions of India. The festival is being organized by National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as the Industry Partner, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi from 21 to 23 February 2020.
Training and capacity-building of women entrepreneurs and SHGs is another key focus area and training on post-harvest management, product innovation, packaging and certification processes are being organized over the 3 days. The efforts are targeted towards helping producers understand the importance of each step of the organic value chain and develop competence to cater to a broader consumer base.
With a focus on innovation, a specially curated ‘Innovation Pavilion’ is set up to display innovative organic foods, packaging solutions and machinery. Leading research institutes from the country like the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT), National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM), Central Food Technological Research Institute (CSIR-CFTRI), Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT), and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) are exhibiting in the pavilion to generate interface with the solutions available and identify solutions that suit the requirement of the entrepreneurs and SHGs to help them diversify their product portfolio. For facilitating business linkages and empowering women entrepreneurs through financial inclusion, over 200 B2B meetings are being facilitated by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Other interesting elements of the show include an interactive session with renowned Chefs on how organic ingredients can be incorporated in our daily diets. There is also an opportunity to hear from successful women entrepreneur-led companies that are not only helping farmers grow organic produce but also helping with certification and enabling the buy-back of their produce. These successes and best practices will offer learnings to other entrepreneurs on possible expansion avenues.
The overall effort is targeted towards strengthening ‘organic’ branding for India by enhancing direct linkage of local producers with buyers, enhancing processing potential of organic output and contribute to India’s vision of enhancing export competitiveness and create a direct impact to women farmer incomes and in turn empowerment.
With 9th largest organic agricultural land in the world and the largest number of producers, India is fast growing in the organic food segment. India produced around 1.70 million MT (2017-18) of certified organic products which include all varieties of food products namely oil seeds, sugarcane, cereals & millets, cotton, pulses, medicinal plants, tea, fruits, spices, dry fruits, and vegetables.
On the demand side, increasing disposable incomes, increasing awareness around health and wellness and increasing acceptability are driving the growth in the organic food segment which is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10% during the period 2016-21.
At the same time, the demand for Indian organic food products is increasing constantly worldwide, with India exporting organic products worth $515 million in 2017-18 with organic products being exported to USA, European Union, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, Israel, South Korea, Vietnam, New Zealand, Japan and other countries.
Rabindra Panwar, Secretary, WCD, Reema Prakash, Joint Secretary, FPI, Chindi Vasudevappa, Vice Chancellor, NIFTEM, and Chandrajit Banerjee, DG, CII, were also present during the event.
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