Food majors deliver Rs 68000 crore MoUs
World Food India, spread across India Gate and Vigyan Bhawan, turning Lutyens´ Delhi into a traffic nightmare, started Friday morning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi inviting investors to tap the “unlimited opportunities´´ in India´s food sector.Soon after, top executives of global food and retail majors from PepsiCo to CocaCola and Amazon to Metro, along with domestic biggies such as ITC and Patanjali, lined up to ink investment MoUs, totalling Rs 68,000 crore over multiple years.
The MoUs, 13 of them, formalised the investments promised earlier by these companies.Others such as Nestle offered to help the government in food safety, while making a reference to the Maggi ban debacle in India two years ago.In investments, PepsiCo led the pack withacommitment worth Rs 13,340 crore, followed by rival CocaCola (Rs 11,000 crore).PepsiCo had earlier announced its plan to invest Rs 35,000 crore in India and the latest commitment is part of the total pie. CocaCola had in July announced an investment of Rs 11,000 crore, along with its partners, to boost its local agri ecosystem.
Friday´s commitment is a reiteration of the same.The Rs 10,000crore investment that ITC CEO Sanjiv Puri committed on Friday will be allocated towards setting up 20 integrated consumer goods manufacturing &logistics facilities in 12 states across India.FMCG major Patanjali too has promised to invest Rs10,000 crore investment in its upcoming food parks, managing director Acharya Bal Krishna said.
The UAEbased Sharaf Group signed an MoU for its committed Rs5,000crore investment to augment farm produce, collection, processing and export.Multinational retail firms Amazon and Metro were next on the list with commitments worth Rs3,450 crore and Rs1,690 crore in retail and wholesale trade, respectively.Companies like Janani Foods, Cargill, Britannia, Hains Celestial, CP Wholesale and RP Sanjeev Goenka Group too have expressed interest to invest more than Rs1,000 crore each.
Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who spear headed the initiative of World Food India, on the lines of international events, said, “These investments will help us realise the goal of doubling farmers´ income as well as generating massive employment in the food processing sector.” Earlier in the day, the PM emphasised the need for private investments in the area to transform India into a global food processing hub. “Come, invest in India, the place with unlimited opportunities to deliver food —from farm to the fork”.
He drew multinationals´ attention to the country´s “delightful cuisine´´.Christopher Columbus was attracted to Indian spices and reached America in search of those, the PM said. ´´Food processing isaway of life in India,´´ the PM added while referring to papads, chatnis, and murabbas as exciting creations of India.Among other food majors, Nestle´s global chairman Paul Bulcke said, “We had some challenging times not so long ago, when our heritage of food safety was questioned.
But we have overcome these.No individual entity has answers to all food related problems but we have to overcome them together.Food safety is non negotiable for us and we can definitely offer our expertise.” Amanda Sourry, president of foods, Unilever, said, “With a population of 1.3 billion,a burgeoning middle class,ayouth segment larger than the entire population of the United States and the increasing rate of urbanisation, the opportunity of providing nutritious, safe and tasty food to more than one billion people must be addressed.”
The three day event is targeting to turn the country into a hub of processed food. According to estimates from ministry of food processing industries, demand for food will increase by 50 per cent and the world population will swell by a fifth by 2040.
The Business Standard, New Delhi,04th November 2017