INDIA – India has attracted investment commitments of around USD 10 billion in the food processing sector ahead of the mega ‘World Food’ event to be held here in November, Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said.

More investment is likely to be committed by the end of the event, said the Minister of Food Processing.

The World Food India event will see participation of 30 countries and over 50 global CEOs, along with CEOs of leading domestic food processing firms and 27 states, she added.

“We had kept a target of USD 10 billion investment. I am happy to share, we have already achieved the target. More investment is likely to flow as we still have 2-3 weeks for the event,” Badal said at the curtain raiser of the 3-day event from November 3.

She declined to share the name of the companies which have committed to make the investment.

“We will give names in the World Food India. I have to take permission from companies which are investing on whether to announce it now or not. They will be announcing during the event,” she added.

Metro Cash and Carry India Managing Director and Mediratta said the company plans to double the number of stores from 24, by 2020.

Executive Director Nakul Anand,  Senior Vice President Sanjay Khajuria, Walmart Senir Vice President Rajneesh Kumar, Kellogs India Managing Director Mohit Anand talked about the opportunities that India offers but did not state any investment plans.

Foreign investors are excited to work in India, Badal said, adding that “this is because ease of doing business in India is seeming like a reality to people who had to face multiple taxes, multiple rules and regulations across states”.

Introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) — a single nation and single tax — has actually made India the world market where everyone wants to come and invest, she said.

Asserting that India has a market to offer which nobody can afford to miss, the minister said: “We have today a USD 600 billion retail sector, of which 70 per cent is food retail and it will treble by 2020. Expenditure on food will also double next six years. There is huge market.”

A lot of policy decisions have been taken in the last three years to boost the food processing sector so that food wastage is curbed and farmers’ incomes improve, she added.

The government is also actively considering a proposal to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in non-food items, along with food products, under the multi-brand retail policy, she said expressing hope of getting it cleared.

Japan, Denmark and Germany are participating as ‘partner countries’ in the event, while Italy and The Netherlands are the focus nations.

Speaking about Japan’s participation, its ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu said Japanese firms are already present here in areas like instant noodle among others.

More companies are looking at the Indian market for investment purpose and over 60 firms will be participating in the forthcoming event, he said.

“I hope that the companies coming will have more investment opportunities as you know India and Japan has been enjoying very good bilateral relations,” he added.

Ambassador of Netherlands to India Alphonsus Stoelinga said the country wants to support India in helping farmers achieve high efficiency in agriculture.

Ambassadors of Denmark and Italy as well as celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor were present at the event, also attended by MoS, food processing, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti.

Economic Times