Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal on 28th April chaired a video conference with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, FICCI members to discuss the current outlook of food processing industry and requirements of the industry post lockdown scenario. The Minister cited the importance of the industry to revive its operations at full capacity without compromising the measures for containment of spread of COVID-19.
The task force of the Ministry, led by senior officials and members of Invest India, has already been coordinating with the industry members and assisting them with the issues and challenges faced across states. The Minister pointed at the major concern of losing the harvested crops and perishables in different parts of the country.
During the video conference, Union Minister requested all members to come forward to procure these harvested wheat, paddy, fruits and vegetables and other perishables so that wastage can be minimized and the farmers are benefitted. The industry members cited few existing issues for necessary intervention of the ministry. These included requirement of SOP for operating facilities in different containment zones, dedicated nodal officials for the food processing industry at state levels to address challenges, standardized protocol for issuing worker passes to operate facilities and maintain supply chain, reevaluating the process of identifying COVID clusters or regions etc.
The Minister agreed with the industry’s voice on requirement of detailed guidelines for the food factories to operate in containment zones as well as with the idea of 60-75 per cent workers being allowed to operate in facilities if industry was able to ensure necessary measures to protect their workers. Ideas on reviving the retail industry were also invited from the industry.