India-Italy ties provide food for thought?

India-Italy ties provide food for thought?
The Mega Food Park is the first of its kind project between India and Italy.Courtesy: Getty Images

The two countries launched the first ever mega food park project in India, involving food processing facilities, adding a major boost for business on both sides.

India and Italy seem to be building on common ground, one of which seems to be food.The two countries launched the first ever mega food park project in India involving food processing facilities in April this year. The pilot project called “The Mega Food Park” was launched in virtual mode, with the signing of a Letter of Intent between the ICE Office in Mumbai and Fanidhar Mega Food Park, in Gujarat.

The project aims to create synergy between agriculture and industry of the two countries and leverages the expertise, research and development of new and more efficient technologies in the sector by the Italian side. The project, promoted by the Italian Embassy in New Delhi and the ICE Office in Mumbai, envisages the involvement of the Emilia Romagna Region, SACE, ANIMA (the Italian association representing metalworking companies) and FederUnacoma (Federation of Italian Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers).

"SMEs and Italian technology, in collaboration with Indian food parks, open a new chapter in the economic partnership between Italy and India with a pilot project in a priority area of ​​intervention such as food processing" stated Vincenzzo de Luca, Italy’s Ambassador to India.

India’s food processing sector is one of the largest in the world and its output is expected to reach $ 535 Bn by 2025-26.
India’s food processing sector is one of the largest in the world and its output is expected to reach $ 535 Bn by 2025-26.Courtesy: Getty Images

Plenty of food for thought

It should come as no surprise that Italy aims to explore the great opportunities offered by the Indian market. According to Invest India, India’s food processing sector is one of the largest in the world and its output is expected to reach $ 535 Bn by 2025-26. The Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) has been taking several steps to encourage investments across the value chain. Currently, the industry engages approximately 1.93 mn people in around 39,748 registered units with fixed capital of $32.75 bn and aggregate output of around $158.69 bn. Major industries constituting the food processing industry are grains, sugar, edible oils, beverages and dairy products. of India further sanctioned over 134 food processing projects during 2020 across different states. In addition the Modi government recently approved a new PLI scheme for the food processing sector, with a budget outlay of US$1.46 billion which will further boost the food processing sector.

From Italy with love

The food park, of course, is just one of the many bilateral projects the two countries have undertaken.

In November last year the two countries signed 15 trade and investment agreements during a virtual summit between Italian PrimeMinister, Guiseppe Conte, and Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. The two leaders also unveiled a long term action plan to enhance bilateral partnership including a memorandum of understanding between Italy's Cassa Depositi e Prestiti SpA and India's National Investment and Infrastructure Fund to promote co-financing, two MoUs between Fincantieri and Cochin Shipyard Limited, two agreements between Snam and Adani Entreprises to promote energy transition and an MoU between Snam and Indian Oil Corporation to cooperate on gas infrastructure development. It seems food might be the next frontier now, and why not? After all both, Italian and Indian food have a global appeal.

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