Demand for organic or wellness food is growing not just in India but across the world, Union Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal said at the inauguration of the three-day World Food Festival being held in New Delhi to showcase products of over 100 women entrepreneurs from self -help groups (SHGs) from across the country.
Organised by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), the festival has stalls displaying organic food items such as papad, vegetables, ready-to-eat products, spices and condiments, honey, cereals, dry fruits, beverages, medicinal plants, oil. There are also a variety of traditional favourites such as jams, jelly, murabba, chutney, etc.
Addressing the delegates, Badal said, "It is not only in India, but people all across the world are looking forward to having organic, or wellness foods because what we eat not only concerns our physical health but also emotional health."
She added that while several other countries have to change their soil pattern to grow organic foods, there are several areas in India that are naturally organic. Badal further stated that one of the motives behind organising such events is to make organic foods a "rage" among the people of India.
Speaking on the role of women on the occasion, the minister said, "Women and cooking go hand in hand. A woman, in general, is always concerned about the well-being of her family by proving nutritious food to them. Therefore this is a huge platform for them to interact with several business people, retailers, etc, who want to expand organic sector."
Bhanwar Kanwar, an entrepreneur from Rajasthan said, "I have been with the SHGs for past three years making healthy papads and biscuits prepared out of organic elements." She is happy about the exposure the event will provide for her products.
Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smriti Irani, said the event celebrates the entrepreneurial potential of women from across the country in the organic food segment. She expressed hope the event would also showcase the potential for foreign direct investment in the growing food processing industry in the country.
Besides the exhibition of different varieties of organic foods, the three-day event will host food quiz, live culinary sessions, cultural events, nukkad natak etc. An interaction with well-known chef Ranveer Brar is one of the highlights.
The primary focus of the event is to impart awareness on the importance of organic food to the consumers, apart from facilitating business linkages and empowering women entrepreneurs through financial inclusion via pre-arranged B2B and B2G. Success stories of several women entrepreneurs will also be highlighted at the event.
Skill development capacity building training programmes for women entrepreneurs and SHGs will be organised to facilitate post-harvest management, value addition and new innovations towards enhancing production efficiency as well to impart comprehensive knowledge about various aspects of the supply chain of organic products.
Keeping in view to cater to a broader consumer base, training on the packaging, marketing and innovations on renewable energy will also be imparted at the three-day event. Sessions to impart training on organic certification and FSSAI regulations will be organised for the producers to familiarise them with regulatory processes.