Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Nara Chandrababu Naidu called for both Central and State governments working together in accelerating agriculture and food processing industry in India during an interactive panel session on ‘Nourishing the Food System’ at World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit-2017 in New Delhi today.

Invited by the World Economic Forum, the Chief Minister spoke on ‘Nourishing the Food System’ at India Economic Summit-2017 along with other panelists including Union Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal; Amit Mehra, Founder, Reuters Market Light, India; Suresh Narayanan, Chairman and Managing Director, Nestle India; Jai Shroff, Global Chief Executive Officer, UPL.; Reuben Abraham, Chief Executive Officer and Senior Fellow, IDFC Institute.

The AP Chief Minister said during the session that both central government and state governments must work together to accelerate agriculture and food processing industry in the country by rolling out good policies and incentives in the sector. ‘We have to encourage Public Private Partnerships (PPP) also to make the sector commercially viable and governments have to invest huge money on this. All stakeholders must work together to improve food processing in India’, he added.

‘Food processing industry is very important for the country and since standalone units can’t survive in the sector there is a need for medium and mega  food parks to make it more economical’, he said. He also  said that technology has become handy today and Andhra Pradesh is implementing various technologies in the areas of rainfall, groundwater, soil moisture and soil testing. ‘The state is supplying micronutrients to farmers for free providing them abundant benefits. We have achieved saturation in soil testing. Through drone based cloud technology, we are giving soil test reports in real time for farmers in the state’, he added. He said that Andhra Pradesh has achieved 27.7% growth rate in agriculture for first quarter of 2017-18.

He said ‘By using technology, we have to devise our strategies and produce results for the common man. Ultimately, we have to increase the income of the farmer and provide food security for the poorest of the poor’.

‘In this regard, we are engaging with organisations like Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank and World Food Prize’, he added.

Naidu also said that food habits of the people are changing today from food like paddy and rice to fruits, livestock and milk products. Speaking on the potential of aquaculture, he said aquaculture is growing and it has grown at the rate of 42% in AP. ‘AP can become the aquaculture hub for the world given its long coastline of 974km’, he added.

Naidu said that Andhra Pradesh Government and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are organising a global event on technologies in agriculture in November for which Bill Gates will attend. ‘As a government, we are encouraging startups and technology companies for benefitting of farmers. I want to implement all the technologies available in the world for strengthening forward and backward linkages in the agriculture market’, Chief Minister added.

Addressing the media after the session, the Chief Minister said that these forums help in knowledge sharing on how to benefit farmers and promote food security for the nation. ‘Agriculture and technology must go together. Governments should rollout excellent policies and incentives and leverage PPP models for the sector. We want to make Andhra Pradesh a model in Food Processing in the country’, he added.