FSSAI chief agrees to recognise labs of juice sector in SAARC region
New Delhi, Mar 16 (KNN) The Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME) today organized a workshop on ‘Regional Trade Development in Juice and Juice Products in SAARC countries: Opportunities and Challenges’.
Pawan Kumar Agarwal, CEO, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), was the chief guest at the event. While addressing the event, he said, “Specific customs related issues of Fruit Juice importers should be looked into. On a pilot scale FSSAI should recognise food testing laboratories of Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka to prevent re-testing of food imports from these countries.”
Dr Sangam Kurade, President, FISME, said that the food industry is growing at the rate of 15 per cent YoY currently which is fastest amongst all other sectors.
“It is an excellent thought process from FISME which has taken a lead in removing trade barriers in the fruit juice sector,” Dr Kurade said.
Anil Bhardwaj, Secretary General, FISME, highlighted that SAARC is the only region where the intra-regional trade is much lower than the global trade of the region in total.
“In the juice sector, it was found that despite India being a large market, it was importing juice concentrates and nectars from around the world but not from the SAARC countries. If the same products were imported from the SAARC countries, it would have come at far more competitive prices,” Bhardwaj explained.
Dr. S.C. Khurana, Juice Consultant, FSSAI, deliberated on the Market Access for Imports of Juice Products.
He said, “If all constituents of a food product conform to Indian standards, the product may not need separate approval by Food standard authorities.”
During the event a MoU was signed between FISME India and Federation of Nepal Cottage and Small Industries (FNCSI). The objective of the agreement is to enhance cooperation between the two associations and institutional organisations promoting economic development of SMEs in their countries and their desire to facilitate intra-regional trade and regional economic cooperation between SMEs.
The FISME workshop was organized with the support of SAARC Trade Promotion Network and GIZ.
The workshop was organized on the second day of Aahar – the international food and hospitality fair, which started at Pragati Maidan on Tuesday. The fair was inaugurated by Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
The SAARC region comprising of 8 member countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives) is one of the fastest growing regions in juice consumption in the world. Although a bewildering variety of fruits and vegetables is also grown in the region, only a fraction of it is processed. The market is set to grow several fold-offering enormous opportunities to growers, producers and suppliers, if bottlenecks in the supply chains could be cleared.