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of Food Processing Industry
In general, food processing industry (FPI) refers to
processing of agricultural products. It includes horticulture, animal husbandry
including dairy products, fisheries and to some extent plantation and forestry,
especially medicinal plants.
Food processing is a significant component of agricultural
processing industries. Worldwide, they are considered sunrise industries and
have the potential of attracting both domestic and foreign investment.
In FPI, processing usually involves more of preserving than
others. Apart from forward links such as processing and marketing, such
industry helps create backward links by further high credit inputs and other
services to primary products.
Broadly speaking, FPI can be divided into two segments,
traditional and modern. Traditional FPI includes grain milling, tea, coffee,
sugar, edible oil, beverages and tobacco. and constituting about 70 per cent of
this industry production.
The modern segment of FPI includes activities such as
reprocessing, mixing preserving, packaging, etc. These activities are of
paramount importance for promoting food processing industry.
Since the raw materials for modern processing industry would be
produced by a small geographically scattered framers, fishermen, etc, such
industry should be developed in two stages:
Stage one should be in the form of collection, grading,
cleaning, pre-cooling, preliminary processing and presenting packaging and refrigerated
transporting of raw materials for being processed in factories.
Stage two should consist of processing properly and it itself
would have two distinct segments, each differing from the other in terms of
products characteristics, quality price, etc.
The fastest growing industry in modern segment of FPI is
breakfast cereals. Due to changing lifestyles and advertisement, this industry
can be more popular in the future.
Industries such as producing dehydrated onion and garlic,
canned vegetables, Jams and jellies, ready to serve beverages such as apple
juice, pulps of banana, pineapple, guava etc, have shown the highest growth
rate within this subsector in term of value of output as well as growth of net
fixed assets. Also, employment has been found highest in this segment.
The tremulous food processing sector helps develop the
agricultural sector by opening new vistas. Actually, through backward and
forward links, food processing adds value to farmers, increases their income
and motivates them for more productivity.. To bring about a qualitative change
in the social and economic conditions of the rural areas, agricultural products
must be utilized for processing.
Some countries consider FPI as an avenue through which rural
income can be increased. It is because FPI is believed to have the capacity of
many jobs in farming, transportation, retailing etc.
Nepal has the potential for agricultural food products.
However, there is the need to strengthen the marketing and processing
infrastructure. To improve marketing efficiency, the government should provide
recent information regarding prices, grading, packaging and processing industry
through computerized market vigilant services.
There is a need to augment safe, hygienic, nutritive and
better quality value added processed products. Farmers can prepare them for
global competition only if quality is improved.
To encourage pre-processing facilities, training centers
should be established for the farmers in the area of post-harvest management of
agricultural products. Such centers should be set up near the area of
production to avoid wastage as well as transportation of raw materials.
A large part of perishable crops such as fruits and
vegetables do not reach the markets. The farmers in remote areas suffer more
than those near to markets. FPI can collect products from doorsteps. Therefore,
they can take them to the industry before they perish. The farmers will get
better value, creating higher demand for goods produced by other sectors.
Establishing link between the producers and the processing
industry by locating the later in rural areas will result in faster use of
perishable agricultural products. This will minimize post-harvester’s losses of
food crops. Actually, storage of fruits and vegetables during the post-harvest
period at maximum temperature is most effective in reducing the loss.
There is a need and scope for development of post-harvest
infrastructure in our country, especially for fruits and vegetables. The
government should consider processing, storage and transport of the commodity
not only to avoid huge storage losses but also to make healthy fruits and
vegetables available to indigenous consumers.
Since most raw materials produced in our country at present are
not suitable for processing, the gap needs to be filled most urgently. To
improve both the raw materials and processing industry, it is essential to
develop varieties that can give high field for processing.
Building of agriculture related industrial parks and estates
will help to collect individual works easily apart from making them economical.
Consequently, it will help to produce more of value added products, especially
by the farmers and the landless to add their income.
Proper utilization of fruits and vegetables to make different
types of processed products is an important way to stabilize prices. To
increase products availability during off-season and to reduce wastage of
fruits and vegetables is also significant.
In fact, it is essential to utilize waste from processing for
producing food, animal feed and other industrial products. This will not only
improve the economic of cooperation but will also be environment friendly. What
is more, there is an urgent need to harmonize the existing food laws and to
bring about development orientation to facilitate faster growth of FPI.