The Centre is formulating an agri-export policy, which will be put in the public domain soon to seek stakeholders' views, Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said here on Thursday.
The government would provide an enabling environment to the industry to increase the country's exports, the minister said, while speaking at the inauguration of 'Indus Food' - an international food and beverage trade show at Greater Noida. It was organised by Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI), along with the ministry.
The minister also said that the Commerce Ministry is working on a strategy to diversify India's export basket in a bid to boost shipments.
"The government has established 60 fully-equipped Agri-Export Zones (AEZs), in addition to 42 mega food parks and 128 cold chains, to boost agricultural and food processing exports. In other words, there is a great potential to conduct business in India as the Centre of Southeast Asia as a trading hub in F&B sector," Prabhu noted.
On the government's efforts to increase farmers' income, Prabhu said, "Agri-product export strategy will change the export scenario in the country. Not only will it double the farmers' income, but also give them a choice of so many buyers to sell their produce. I'm sure, it will benefit all farmers, whether big or small. Indus Food is a very good step in that direction."
In terms of the market size, the Indian food market was worth $193 billion in 2016, and is expected to cross $540 billion by 2020. The sector has been growing at the rate of 12% annually, which is almost double the growth rate of GDP.
India's food processing industry is expected to reach $482 billion by 2020. Entities in infrastructure development for food processing unit are given a tax deduction of 100% for the first five years and 30% for the next five years for the calculation of taxable income, said TPCI in a statement.
The show is witnessing participation from over 400 exhibitors, including representations from 12 states. Global buyers from 43 nations are attending the event.