Friday, May 6, 2011

CII Recommendations on Agriculture and Food Laws

A CII team, led by Mr Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Chairman,CII National Council on Agriculture, and Vice Chairman & MD, Bharti Enterprises, met Mr Sharad Pawar, Union Minister of Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, on 24 March in New Delhi, with suggestions to revitalize the Food Processing and Agriculture Sector, deepen private sector engagement and raise farmer income.

Some of the key CII recommendations were:

· Broaden the definition of agriculture produce to include processed food products, to ensure that products of the food processing industry would get the same benefits as fresh produce.

· Remove the cap in priority sector lending, by including all advances to the Agriculture & Food Processing Industry across the value chain in the category of Direct Agri Priority Sector Lending (PSL), without any limitation on the size of investment in plant and machinery.

· Nil Goods and Service Tax (GST) on food processing will also help to curb unnecessary food inflation.

· Exempt fruits, vegetables and other perishables from the APMC Act and also give farmers the freedom to sell directly to food processing companies / aggregators /processors etc in addition to selling through government or private mandis etc. This will help reduce wastage.

· The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) needs to ensure that the Food Safety and Standard Act is implemented soon to ensure food safety and quality.

Mr Pawar said that revitalizing the food processing sector is a high priority issue, and assured CII that the recommendations would be considered by the Ministry.

Mr. PK Basu, Secretary, Agriculture and Cooperation, and Mr Ashok Sinha, Secretary, Food Processing Industries, were also present at the interaction.

Food Laws & Regulatory Issues

CII presented recommendations on Food Laws and regulatory issues to Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, in New Delhi on 24 March. The CII team was led by Mr Rakesh Bharti Mittal. The key recommendations were:

· Implementation of the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA) as soon as possible

· Enforcement of a single law (FSSA) governing all issues across the country, to avoid duplication of laws at the state level

· Ensure that all the scientific committees and panels meet frequently

· Provide adequate transition time to industry, especially SMEs, for implementing the new requirements

· FSSAI could establish an Institutional Advisory Body (an independent body) consisting of representatives from the industry, whose views are necessarily considered by the scientific panel, since they are the most important stakeholders in the entire process

· Harmonization of food standards with international laws such as Codex, EU, USFDA, etc.

· Schedule 4 of ‘Licensing on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) / Good Hygiene Practices

(GHP)’ may be issued as guidelines.

Mr Azad assured CII that:

· FSS Rules and Regulations would be notified at the earliest

· FSS Rules and Regulations would subsume all other state laws

· Adequate transition time will be given to industry to comply with the new requirements under the FSS Regulations

· The Scientific Panels should meet at least once in two months, or more frequently, to clear the backlog.

Indo-US Cooperation in Agriculture

CII, in partnership with the US-India Business Council (USIBC) organized a roundtable on ‘Indo-US cooperation across the Agriculture Value Chain’ on 30 March in New Delhi. Mr Paul Conway, Senior Vice President, Cargill Inc, and leader of the USIBC Food & Agriculture Mission, said that US companies doing business in India need to need to understand agriculture at the state level, and engage at this level, to rejuvenate agriculture in India. Mr G C Pati, Additional Secretary, Agriculture, expressed the hope that the two countries could collaborate to eventually open up a completely new frontier of economic development,by unleashing an enormous amount of value-creation based

Food Security through Sustainable Agriculture

CII organized an interactive session on Achieving Food Security through Sustainable Agriculture,’ on 3 March in New Delhi. Attaining food security is becoming a major challenge which can be met only through proper and efficient use of technology localized for the particular area, said Mr Martin Taylor, Chairman,Syngenta AG. He pointed out that today we have technology to produce enough with the existing land holdings to feed the world in the coming years. However, the need is for proper dissemination of this technology. He felt that the extensive network of distributors, dealers and retailers on which the farmers depend to a great extent for advice, could serve as an efficient model for technology transfer. Dr Swapan Dutta, Deputy Director General (Crop Science), Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), said that the challenge ahead include production of quality seeds, efficient supply chains, a dynamic and flexible agri-policy, an efficient regulatory system and adequate investment for commissioned projects.

Mr Salil Singhal, Co-Chairman, CII National Council on Agriculture, and CMD, PI Industries Ltd, said that CII is actively working on various issues in agriculture in close collaboration with government bodies in order to rejuvenate Indian Agriculture and overcome food security concerns.

No comments:

Post a Comment