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Posted at: Feb 14, 2018, 2:03 AM; last updated: Feb 14, 2018, 2:03 AM (IST)

Roadmap to control prices of veggies soon: Harsimrat

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 13

Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal today said the Centre would soon draw a roadmap to control the soaring prices of tomato, onions and potatoes (TOP). Briefing the media on “Operation Greens” summarised in the Budget, she praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for doubling her ministry’s Budget this year.

The minister said her department would hold a meeting with stakeholders on March 20 to put on ground the framework for the preservation of tomato, onion and potato by promoting farmer produce organisations, agri-logistics processing facilities and professional management.

“We may also look at incentivising the production of TOP. A sum of Rs 500 crore has been earmarked for the purpose in the Budget,” she said, adding that the FDI was “constantly increasing” for the sector.

The project aims at addressing price fluctuations of tomato, onion and potato, helping farmers and consumers both. It will be implemented on the lines of “Operation Flood”, a dairy development programme launched in sixties.

Meanwhile, the FDI in the food processing sector is expected to rise by 38 per cent to $1 billion this fiscal, driven by recent reforms, she said. The minister said efforts were being made to translate the proposals worth $14 billion signed during the “World Food India 2017” in November last year into actual investment.

Already, 17 companies, including the ITC, have started the ground work, she said. “The FDI in food processing is increasing. It stood at $727 million in 2016-17. In the first seven months of this fiscal, the FDI in the sector had reached $500 million. It will touch $1 billion by the end of this fiscal,” she said. “This will help improve food processing level to 20-30 per cent in the next two or three years from the current 10 per cent and decrease wastage,” she said.

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