Chandigarh, Feb 10 (IANS) President Ram Nath Kovind said on Saturday that global food trade has undergone revolutionary changes and that benefits this have to be brought to the farmers and the agriculture sector.
Addressing first convocation of the National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) in Sonepat, nearly 200 km from here, the President said: “Our determined and committed farmers have produced food for our country and they have it in them to produce for the world.
“In the services sector, India has taken advantage of its enormous human talent and lower cost structures to build world-class industries. There is no reason why we cannot replicate this in agriculture and in food and agro-based industries.”
“Indian farm products — whether rice, milk, fruits and vegetables, or even chillies — can flood supermarkets and feed households across the globe. This can help us create numerous employment opportunities for our young people, in cold storages and in preservation, in food processing and along the food supply chain.” Kovind pointed out.
The President said as a society, and as a people, we are obligated to make life better for our farmers and free them from the fickleness of nature and weather patterns. He said that farmers need to be protected from the unpredictability of demand and supply.
“Use of science and technology along the food chain is vital to these programmes. And this is where institutions such as NIFTEM and those who graduate from here will play a vital role,” he added.
The President said as social habits had changed and as nuclear families emerged in larger numbers, especially in cities, demand for packaged and ready-to-eat food products was rising in India.
“The challenge is to maintain quality, safety and labelling standards for food and ingredients that are up to global benchmarks. Steps should be taken to ensure that packaged foods promote both convenience and health. And that they keep alive the nutritious grains and traditional food items that can be found in every state of India.
“It is for the food industry to innovate and find easy-to-use solutions to the epidemic of lifestyle diseases in our country,” Kovind added.
“We have to do all this while being conscious of building our own brands, especially for traditional and nutritive food items that have been the pride of India for centuries and can reach far greater consumers at home and abroad,” he said.
Kovind awarded degrees to to the toppers. Degrees were presented to 540 students who completed their graduation and post graduation.