Although India's remarkable economic growth in recent years has been fueled by the booming services and industrial sector, Agriculture continues to remain the mainstay of the economy from employment and livelihood perspective.
The agriculture sector continues to be the largest sector in the country employing 58% of the population. A high degree of correlation has been witnessed between India’s GDP growth and growth in agriculture. As per the National Agricultural Policy declaration a 4 % rate of growth in agriculture is a necessary concomitant of 10% GDP growth. However Agriculture growth momentum of the country cannot be sustained in the long run without a thrust on inclusiveness and sustainability. Need for inclusiveness and sustainability coupled with competitiveness arises due to the numerous challenges faced by the agriculture sector today. Food processing sector has become a catalyst for the development of Indian Agriculture and is of enormous significance to India’s development owing to the vital linkages and synergies that it promotes between the two pillars of our economy, industry and agriculture. Consistent growth in demand for high value food products combined with strongly complementing supply strengths has helped in the creation of a positive outlook for the processed food segment. This is the only sector, which can provide economic viability to agriculture for achieving inclusive growth.A large part of the debate on Indian agriculture today is related to food security concerns. There is no greater challenge facing us than the challenge of providing every person with sufficient food to meet their requirement without any adverse impact on the ecological system and mankind now and in future. For this to happen Indian Agri Business needs to enlarge its contribution beyond its primary role of enhancing economic capital, towards also enhancing social capital and natural capital.
Towards this endeavor the CII Jubilant Bhartia Food & Agri Center of Excellence (FACE) is being set up with a vision to be a catalyst in the integrated development of India’s agriculture and food sector.
It is indeed an honour for me to Chair the Centre's Governing Council, which is rich with experience in various facets of Indian Agribusiness. With the support and commitment of such enlightened leadership, I have every reason to believe that FACE will make a growing contribution to the cause of inclusive and sustainable development of the Indian agriculture and food sector.
I wish the Centre of Excellence the very best in its endeavors.