Mumbai: The Indian government aims to triple India’s food processing capacity from the current 10% of agricultural produce, a top government official said.

The government has committed to investing Rs6,000 crore in operating 42 sanctioned ‘mega food parks’ to help triple India’s food processing capacity, minister of food processing industries Harmsimrat Kaur Badal said at the World Food Expo on Thursday.

This is part of the ministry’s SAMPADA scheme announced in April this year which was set up to invest in boosting food processing capacity in India.

“From 2008 to 2014 when this government took over, I was very surprised to see that out of 42 (sanctioned) megaparks, only 2 had been operationalized," Kaur said in a public address at the expo. “We have now operationalized 6 (megaparks) in 2 years."

Kaur added that as per ministry guidelines, it should take only 2 years to operationalize a sanctioned food park.

The government is also betting on the 101 cold chain projects it sanctioned in March this year to help boost food processing capacity. “100 cold chains have been set up already and in the next 18-24 months, 101 more (cold chain projects) will be ready," Kaur said.

The ministry expects these investments to add 334 million metric tonnes of processing capacity, worth nearly Rs1 lakh crore (Rs1 trillion), creating 5 lakh jobs, and helping 20 lakh farmers, Kaur said.