Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti today said that the food processing industry will have to grow if we want to achieve the aim to increase the farmers' income.
"If we have to increase farmers' income, we will have to work in the area of food processing. Otherwise we cannot double farmers' income," said Sadhvi Jyoti, who was here to inaugurate a food processing summit organised by the industry body ASSOCHAM.
She said her ministry has worked extensively in the direction of encouraging food processing industry including providing subsidies for setting up cold chains and food parks.
Her government also encouraged small investors to come forward to set up food parks in smaller areas, she said.
Hundred per cent FDI in food processing was also in the direction to ensure that farmers get right price for their produce, she said.
The minister, however, spoke against the use of excessive fertilisers to increase farmers' output.
She said excessive use of fertilisers has adversely affected the quality of soil, with some farmers in Punjab turning to traditional mode of using cow dung for fertilisers.
"To increase farmers' income, agricultural output should be good...In the past we used excessive fertiliser to increase output, without considering its (adverse) affect on agricultural land. I can see many land turned infertile due to excessive use of fertilisers," she said.
"Today a host of diseases like cancer, blood pressure, sugar are caused due to the use of fertilisers. In Punjab, which was the first to use fertilisers, farmers are using cow dung," she said.
"We should keep our land quality in mind. Our government, agriculture ministry are working in this direction. Which is why our agriculture ministry is working towards testing soil for its optimum use," she said.
She said her ministry is hosting an international food processing summit between November 3 and 5, which will be the first international summit of its kind in India.