For a food processing industry, a state-of-the-art infrastructure is a must to keep the food products healthy and hygienic within the prescribed timeframe. This needs a large number of Cold Storages, good roads and warehouses. Gujarat has got all. The State has approximately 400 cold storages with a total capacity of approximately 1270000MT. Gujarat State Warehousing Corporation and Central Warehousing Corporation together provide around 8.5 lakhs MT capacity in the state, making the necessary raw materials available throughout the year.
Further, in line with the nation’s import-export policy, the State government has earmarked Agriculture Export Zones for mangoes and vegetables value-added onions (Saurashtra) under the scheme of Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Authority.
Key players in the food segment of Gujarat include Amul, Vadilal, Balaji, McCain and Rasna among others.
Cleaning & hygiene concerns
With 17 Cooperative dairy plants, 25 private dairy plants and 16044 Co-operative societies, Gujarat has a very well established dairy industry which accounts for the largest dairy products and export in the country. When it comes to the mechanised and automated cleaning methodology, very few companies or units have adopted it. “Today, if hygienic awareness is not being maintained, then a number of factors, including lack of infrastructure are responsible for it. I am saying infrastructure because cleaning & hygiene and environment are the inherent parameters while building an infrastructure. Take a look at old buildings; their design are totally unhygienic. It takes a lot of manpower, tools, chemicals and time to clean such buildings. These involve manual operation,” Dr. Rathnam points out, MD-Amul Dairy.
“Undoubtedly, new cleaning solutions have brought remarkable change, but certain chemical formulations must be improved. More portable cleaning equipment which can easily get into the pump and pipeline area, and can clean the area effectively are needed. The existing small machines are not in accordance with our requirement.”
Another food processing giant, Vadilal which entered the processed foods industry to optimise utilisation of its extensive cold chain network in the 1990s, currently caters to the domestic and export markets with products such as frozen vegetables and ready to eat snacks, curries and breads. “Both food processing and pharma fields are equally sensitive to the quality of cleanliness and hygiene standards. Both need to pass through the various compliances such as FDA. Hence, from
housekeeping point of view I will say, both are similar and essentially need the required attention to keep the manufacturing license/permit continue,” says Anil Patil, Vice President -Supply Chain, Vadilal Industries Ltd. “Services offered by manufacturers are very poor, they takes more often a week or more time to make these machines work. This leaves the onlyoption ‘Buy 2-3 back up or stand up machines’ which is unnecessary from procurement point of view if good servicing could be offered within a short time.”
Also known as the ‘Sultan of Wafers’, Balaji Wafers has won accolades across the globe for quality maintenance of its manufacturing facility. ChanduBhai Virani, MD-Balaji Wafers says, “We have bought ride-on sweepers to clean the plant area. High pressure jet cleaning systems are installed at the shop floor for cleaning the machines. Deep cleaning is done once a week.”
As it appears, the big food processing companies in the State have either adopted or in process of adopting the latest cleaning and hygiene solutions, small and medium scale companies haven’t adopted or even aware of the developments made in cleaning and hygiene.
Showing the best performance among all the States, Gujarat has bagged several central projects into its pocket. Among them, one is the establishment of mega food processing park. According the Anil Group, promoter of food processing park at Paldi, “Such parks will be a one stop hub for food processing companies. They will be provided all the infrastructural facilities including the construction of enabling infrastructure such as roads, electricity, water and gas supply, collection and treatment system, storm water drainage, logistics centre, parking and weighing bridge.”
- Schemes for Agri Infrastructure like Mega Food Parks, Cold Chains, modernization of Abattoirs
- Scheme for technology upgradation and establishment and modernization of food processing industries.
- Scheme for quality assurance, codex standards, R&D and other promotional activities
- Strengthening of institutions like Indian Institute of Crop Processing Technology
- Keen implementation of other GoI initiatives: NFSM, ATMA
- Food processing industries have been put in the list of priority sectors for bank lending – implying easier availability of credit.
- GGRC is aimed to provide professional services on Micro Irrigation System coupled with required equipments and essential agro inputs to the farmers of Gujarat
- The State has received cumulative foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows across all sectors worth USD 7.2 billion in last one decade.
“The changing demographics, lifestyle patterns, food consumption patterns has increased the sales of packaged food, canned/ dried processed food, frozen processed food, meal replacement products, condiments, beverages etc. The food processing industry holds tremendous potential to grow, considering the still nascent levels of processing at present. Considering the wide-ranging and large raw material base that the land offers, along with a vast consumer base, the food industry holds tremendous opportunities for large investments. A study has also highlighted that India incurs post-harvest fruits and vegetable losses worth over
र2 lakh crore each year largely owing to the absence of food processing units, modern cold storage facilities and a callous attitude towards tackling the grave issue of post-harvest losses,” observed MITCON Consultancy & Engineering Services.