The President, Ram Nath Kovind, on Saturday said as demand for packaged food is growing, traditional and nutritive food items which have been the pride of India for centuries should reach consumers at home and abroad.
Addressing 1st convocation of the National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) at Sonipat, the President said as social habits changed and as nuclear families emerged in larger numbers, more so in our cities, demand for packaged and ready-to-eat food products would rise in India.
“The challenge is to maintain quality, safety and labelling standards for food and ingredients that are up to global bench-marks. And we have to do all this while being conscious of building our own brands, especially for traditional and nutritive food items that have been the pride of India for centuries and can reach far greater consumers at home and abroad,” Kovind said.
“Steps should be taken to ensure that packaged foods promote both convenience and health. And that they keep alive the nutritious grains and traditional food items that can be found in every state of India. It is for the food industry to innovate and find easy-to-use solutions to the epidemic of lifestyle diseases in our country,” he added.
The President said global food trade has undergone revolutionary changes and benefits of these changes, and the potential of this trade must be brought to every field and farmer. “In the services sector, India has taken advantage of its enormous human talent and lower cost structures to build world-class industries. There is no reason why we cannot replicate this in agriculture and in food and agro-based industries,” Kovind said. Indian farm products–whether rice, milk, fruits and vegetables, or even chillies–can flood supermarkets and feed households across the globe.
This can help us create numerous employment opportunities for our young people, in cold storages and in preservation, in food processing and along the food supply chain, the President said.”As a society and as a people we are obligated to make life better for our farmers and free them from the fickleness of nature and weather patterns, and, to the degree possible, from the unpredictability of demand and supply,” he said.
This is the resolve of the government, and it has instituted policies and programmes to further this. Use of science and technology along the food chain is vital to these programmes. And this is where institutions such as NIFTEM and those who graduate from here will play a vital role, he added.