Herald: Masterplan required for Goa to realise food processing potential

Masterplan required for Goa to realise food processing potential

21 Jan 2019 04:32am IST

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21 Jan 2019 04:32am IST

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The food processing industry is a sector which not only supports agriculture but also employs a lot of people. VIKANT SAHAY finds out how the State is faring in the food processing space

With demonetisation, many medium and small scale industries faced the wrath of cash crunch in the country. Many of them even closed down leading to joblessness and slowdown in the economy. Food processing units also suffered a lot. Thankfully, since Goa never took this sector seriously, it resulted in having a negligible amount of such food processing units which could survive. 

In July 2017, Goa government introduced a new scheme for providing financial assistance for establishment of new food processing units as well as technology up gradation and expansion of existing units. Financial assistance of up to the extent of 25 per cent of the cost of Plant and Machinery and Technical Civil Works, subject to a maximum of Rs 30 lakh will be provided to food processing units.

In 2012, Dr Nandkumar M Kamat, chairman of the Goa State Task Force Committee (GSTFC-FPI) of the Goa Chambers and Commerce and Industry (GCCI) submitted an 81-page voluminous report before the State government with various facts, figures, graphs, charts and suggestions. However, with the subsequent change in State government the report seems to have taken the back seat. 

Industrial units related to agricultural, fisheries and processing sectors operate in a new and evolving business and social environment. It is a competitive, consumer-driven sector in a global and rapidly changing environment, with enormous implications for the role of the agriculture sector in the overall food system. All these sectors are inter-dependent and blending of these sectors is of paramount importance to have a successful food processing sector in Goa. 

The report which was placed in 2012 mentioned that “the domestic food market of Goa is Rs 10,000 crore and growing at a rate of 4-5 per cent. The tourism related food market in Goa is Rs 5,000 crore and growing at a rate of 5- 10 per cent. 

The Goa food processing policy aims at value addition from agricultural, fisheries, dairy, meat and poultry and other edible biomass produce by induction of modern technology into food processing, encouraging research and development, minimisation of wastage across the food processing chain by development of infrastructure for storage, transportation and processing of these raw materials to fill in the gaps of supply chain from farm/harbour to consumer and promotion of investment in all these fields.” 

Also, last year in September the Consul General of Japan while visiting Mormugao Port Trust in Goa had mentioned that the State has a good potential for setting up food processing industries. There is a need to tap the food resources from the sea to meet the ever growing demands of increasing world population, said Ryoji Noda, the Consul General of Japan in India. 

Stressing on food processing sector, he said “Food processing is an important and fast growing industry. Being a coastal state, Goa has a good potential for setting up food processing industries where the waste fish could be put to good use.”

Dr Sangam Kurade, who is a  noted businessman in food processing industry and also Proprietor of Zuari Food and Farms Pvt Ltd in Goa is of the opinion that, “Goa does not have the base for food processing. Food processing generally comes out of the excess production from agriculture. For example, excess production of tomato will go to the food processing units for making of ketchup. Goa as a state is not very strong in agriculture but yet the State has all the potential to have food processing units. Even chocolates and liquor should also be termed into food processing units, although people may have difference of opinion on this.”

Dr Kurade further added that, “After pharmaceuticals, Goa has almost Rs 5000-7000 crore worth of business in food products operating here.  Even the ‘Poder’ business over all would be having a turnover of Rs 200-300 crore in the State. Since food processing industry is very diverse in nature as against the pharmaceutical industry, it could not be clubbed into one particular industry. Goa food processing industry also suffers due to paucity of raw material, lack of infrastructure and logistics. The government should look into giving impetus and not incentives for the food processing industry.”

Chairman of Food Processing Committee of the GCCI, Joseph D’Souza gave an example of dairy products and said that a maximum of 1 lakh liters of milk is being produced in the State while the consumption is not less than 3.5 lakh liters of milk alone. “I can set up a factory if I do not have machinery but if I do not have raw material like milk, how would you expect me to set up a processing factory. Also, the assurance of supply of raw material from outside Goa may not be there. We also do not have green fodder for the cattle. Green fodder can also be bracketed into a cash crop category as many other States are doing. The fundamentals are not being addressed here in the State at the moment and hence it is difficult for the food processing industry to survive.”

D’Souza when asked what should be the strategy for boosting this sector, he replied, “Primary objective should be to ensure that there is availability of raw material. There has to be a long-term master plan on this which will give confidence to any investor to go ahead for setting up processing units and facilities. If these are not done, then the money spent on this sector will go waste.”

Chairman of the Agriculture Committee of the Goa Chambers of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Miguel Braganza explained, “We in our committee have identified the areas and the entrepreneurs who can build up in this sector. For example our focus is on jackfruit. However, supply of raw material is an issue as a processing plant would need jackfruit for a minimum of 10 months in a year which at present, is not there in Goa. Plans are also on to make vegan jackfruit patties for burgers. Some companies are already producing and exporting it to New Zealand and demands are also coming in from Europe as it is called a vegan meat.”

Braganza also mentioned that for the success of food processing units, creation of clusters are important as many industries require each other’s assistance for their business. 

“We have also visited cluster sites outside Goa specially in the field of mango farming and in Goa we have hardly two to three of them. We have tremendous scope and we have several success stories. We wish that the government should show some interest in this sector which is also a job-creating industry.”
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