Food processing sector to attract $33 b by 2024

India's food processing sector has the potential to attract $33 billion (about Rs 2.14 lakh crore) in investments by 2024, says a study released here on Tuesday.

The country's food and retail market is expected to touch $482 billion by 2020, up from $258 billion in 2015, with recent reforms making the sector more competitive and market- oriented, it said.

"There is a huge scope for large investments in food processing technologies, skill development and equipment as total food production in India is estimated to double in next 10 years," said the joint study by Assocham and Chicago-based professional services firm Grant Thornton.

As a result, the food processing sector has the potential to attract $33 billion investment and generate employment of 90 lakh person days by 2024, it said.

However, it needs to focus on product conformity with global standards and quality together with factors like logistics traceability and safety, quality of packaging and delivery, said the study. "There is a need for policy intervention and field level changes for India to develop global competitiveness in many related sub-sectors and ensure that they are firmly entrenched in global value chains," it said.

Even marginal reductions in post-harvest losses of fruits and vegetables, which are at about 25-30%, will give better returns and improve farmers' incomes, it added.

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