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Restrictions on Organic and Processed food export to be lifted: Suresh Prabhu

Panaji, December 7 (GCCurrentAffairs): With the Central Cabinet approving ambitious Agricultural Export Policy on Thursday, Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said that all the restrictions of export of organic and processed food would be lifted, paving way for the growth of the sector.

The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the Agricultural Export Policy, 2018.  The Cabinet has also approved the proposal for establishment of Monitoring Framework at Centre with Commerce as the nodal Department with representation from various line ministries and departments and Agencies and representatives of concerned State Governments, to oversee the implementation of this policy.

“As a part of entire policy, the creation of cold chain infrastructure would be aggressively worked on with the complete involvement of State governments. Each of the State government has decided to appoint a nodal officer who will work on creating the infrastructure,” the minister said addressing a conference on “Strengthening MSME Ecosystem in Food Processing organised by ASSOCHEM, here.

“At the same time, to make exports possible, Union government  will remove all the restrictions on organic foods as well as processed foods. For other agriculture products, depending upon the situation, we will remove the restrictions,” the minister told the gathering of businessmen and government officials.

Prabhu said that the Agricultural Export Policy has been approved after consulting all the States and Union Territories. “This will be the policy that would be implemented across the states for which we have decided to create the framework,” he said.

Elaborating on the policy, Prabhu said “the idea is that we create clusters for different products for agriculture, horticulture, meat, dairy and others.”

As per the policy, the clusters will be created depending upon the natural products produced in each of the State, he said adding that under this policy, the benefits of various existing schemes would be combined with the additional outlay of Rs 1,4000 Crore.

The union government is also working on logistics, for which connectivity is an important factor. Prabhu said that proper connectivity will be provided so that the produce can be transported within shortest possible time to avoid waste of the products.

“In all 30 per cent of the fruits that are produced in India are wasted, and India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world,” the minister said.

Prabhu said that to set up food processing industry, the union government has already started working towards attracting investments. “Abu Dhabi

Food processing is something is extreme important and to make it happen in a big way, Abu Dhabi Investment authority which is world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, have announced funding for India, he said.

Tapping the marine export sector, Prabhu said that the union government will work with 13 coastal states including Goa to double the export in this sector from 30 billion dollars to 60 billion dollars.

“The basic idea is to have value addition on marine products so that they fetch good price,” he said adding that the investments from countries like Japan and Korea in this sector is expected.

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