8.50          ndian       onom
     severely criticised by the experts and the political                     The economy has already started having
     parties in the country. The government is yet to                         an informed and increased demand in
     take the final call on the issue.                                        such food items as ‘dietary habits’ are in
                                                                              the process of shift (NSSO, 2014).
        Food ProcessInG                                                  (ii) External dimension to it was also accepted
                                                                              by the government by mid-1990s. As per
     Indian food processing industry (FPI)81 has not
                                                                              a joint GATT-OECD study, processed
     grown with the pace which we see in the developed
                                                                              food are supposed to account for around
     countries—there has been certain reasons for it:
                                                                              19 per cent of the increased trade after the
           (i) India has a lower urban population                             provisions of the WTO are implemented.
                (around 30 per cent of the population).
                                                                        (iii) A very high percentage of food items
         (ii) Whatever urban population India has                             which have short shelf life get wasted in
                it does not have the typical urban food                       India. It does not look good for a country
                habits. As majority of it is second or third                  which is crippled by the short-supply of
                generation in the urban areas they still                      food and high rate of hunger.
                continue with the non-urban/rural food
                habits detrimental to the consumption of            imPortAnce
                the agro-precessed items.
                                                                    While increased productivity is an essential
        (iii) In recent times, there has come enough                component of a vibrant agricultural sector,
                awareness among the population across               improved post-harvest handling and processing
                the country regarding the chemicals                 is essential to ensure value addition, reduction in
                which are used in the agro-processing               wastage and to make good quality products reach
                industries—creating a general tendency              the markets. Too often, even when the yields are
                to avoid such food articles (much damage            high, producers lose income due to poor post-
                has been done to the industry by the ‘fast          harvest practices.
                foods’, adulteration in food items such as
                                                                    Aim: Food processing aims to make food more
                sweets, milk, etc.).
                                                                    digestible, nutritious and extend the shelf life. Due
        (iv) A wave across the world towards                        to the seasonal variations high levels of wastage
                comsuming more ‘which comes on                      or shortages can arise if adequate measures are
                plants’ than ‘what is produced in plants’.          not taken to preserve and store the food. Food
                A similar wave of ‘slow food’ has gained            processing covers all the processes that food items
                popularity across Europe and other parts            go through from the farm to the consumers’ plate. It
                of the world originating from France.               includes basic cleaning, grading and packaging as
          Moreover, India’s agro-processing policy                  in case of fruits and vegetables and also alteration
     today guided by the following drivers:                         of the raw material to a stage just before the final
           (i) As urban population rises and urban                  preparation. Value addition processes to make
                food habits evolve, there will be increased         ‘ready-to eat’ food like bakery products, instant
                demand for processed foods as it happened           foods, flavored and health drinks, etc., are also
                across the urbanising developed world.              included in this definition.
                                                                          Food processing offers an opportunity for the
       81.    The analyses are based on several volumes of Economic
              Survey, India and the relevant documents of the       creation of sustainable livelihoods and economic
              Government of India between the period 2005 and 2015. development for the rural communities. Food