You are on page 1of 18



Food processing will raise rural jobs, says Sahay

Ramesh Sharma

Long way to go: The Union Minister for Food Processing Industries, Mr Subodh Kant Sahay (right), and the
Director, Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mr V. Prakash, at the 2nd Food Technology
Summit in the Capital on Monday. —

Our Bureau

New Delhi, June 22 The Minister of Food Processing Industries , Mr Subodh Kant Sahay, reiterated the
need to give the food processing sector a 10-year tax holiday, on Monday. Mr Sahay was the chief guest at
Confederation of Indian Industries’ (CII) second Food Technology Summit.

In his address, Mr Sahay said that the sector still had a long way to go and the Planning Commission had
not understood the importance of the sector. He urged the Planning Commission to give priority to the

According to him, the food processing sector is the key to generate jobs for the rural population which forms
70 per cent of the nation. Also, he pointed out that branding remains a problem in this sector, “70 per cent of
this sector is small and micro industries, for them branding is a problem.”

The Chairman - CII National Committee on Food Processing & Food Regulatory Affairs and CEO – India
Foods & President – India Region PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt Ltd, Mr Gautam Mukkavilli, said that the
policy framework should be such that India gains and retains market share globally. Towards this affect, the
Government aims to set up 10 food technology and entrepreneurship incubation centres in 2009 and 20
Food Technology Parks in 2010.

According to him, the food processing sector received investments worth $144 million between 2007 and
2008, as against $5.7 million the previous year. During April 2008-January 2009, the sector received $760
million worth of investments.

Baba’s blessings for mega food park foundation

- Ramdev’s ayurved company pledges to invest 25 per cent in Rs 125cr
Getalsud project

Ranchi, Feb. 22: Here’s some food for thought — straight from Baba Ramdev’s guidebook of healthy living.

The guru has pledged to invest in the state’s first mega food processing park that is coming up on the
outskirts of the capital for more than Rs 125 crore. Tomorrow, he will lay the foundation stone of the project,
in which his company, Patanjali Ayurved Limited, will be a major stake holder.

Governor Syed Sibtey Razi and Union minister of state for food processing Subodh Kant Sahai, who is also
a Ranchi MP, will be present on the occasion.

The food park, spread over more than 50 acres, is coming up in Getalsud near Rukka Dam. Consultant
major ILFS has been roped in as the process manager for the project. The park is tipped to generate 30,000
direct and indirect jobs in the state.

Anand Mohan Jha, the Delhi-based assistant manager of ILFS, told The Telegraph that a Special Purpose
Vehicle (SPV) has been formed for the project in which Patanjali Ayurved Limited will act as the biggest
stakeholder, promising an investment of about 25 per cent.

“The Union food processing ministry will provide a grant of around Rs 50 crore. The rest of the funds will
have to be arranged by the SPV that will not only own the food park but will also develop it and later manage
its affairs. Initially, about 35 entrepreneurs will be allocated space to set up units at the park,” said Jha.

The park will house a central processing unit, a big cold storage set-up, deep freezing, bulk packaging and
tetra packaging facilities.

Jha and Awadhesh Kumar, the director of the Union ministry of food processing industries, recently visited
Ranchi and held a meeting chaired by Sahai on the project. Industry representatives also attended it.

Sources said that given the core-competency of Jharkhand in vegetable cultivation, Baba Ramdev is also
keen on setting up a unit for extracting, processing, packaging and selling juices of bitter gourds and gourds.
The vegetables are considered to be beneficial in fighting obesity.

Special secretary of the industries department Dhirendra Kumar said that they had already earmarked 24
acres possessed by Ranchi Industrial Area Development Authority in Getalsud for the food park. “More
acres will be released once construction starts,” Kumar added.

After the foundation stone is laid, the SPV will submit a detailed project report to the union ministry for the
approval of a high-level committee. Jha said that it would take about 24 months to wrap up the project after
the second level of clearance from the ministry.

Vice-president of Jharkhand Small Industries Association Sharad Poddar said: “With the setting up of the
food park, farmers will be able to get better prices for their seasonal vegetables and other products that are
otherwise sold at throwaway prices in rural markets.”

Hygiene seal on rude food

- RMC to begin quality management

Ranchi, March 1: If the Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) has its way,
you will soon be able to gorge on street food without fear.

The civic body is making sincere efforts to get “safe food town” status for
the capital that will allow both local residents and the floating population,
including tourists, to eat street food that is both tasty and hygienic.

The civic body has embarked on the hygiene programme to upgrade the
quality of food being sold by roadside vendors and to ensure that they are
safe for consumption.

The Union ministry of food processing is sponsoring the programme and

has, initially, shelled out Rs 15 lakh.

Union minister of state for food processing and Ranchi MP Subodh Kant Sahay will launch the project on
Tuesday. Ranchi will be the first city in the state to bag the “safe food town” tag from the Centre once the
programme is over.

Under the scheme, food vendors will be first identified and divided into three zones. Then the civic body will
issue them identity cards followed by proper training in which experts will educate the vendors about food
processing, storing techniques, cleanliness and hygienic handling of food items.

After the training, a monitoring team will ensure that the vendors are abiding by hygiene rules through
regular inspections.

“About 30 per cent of the population in Ranchi depend on roadside vendors for their morning, afternoon and
evening meals. But at present, no machinery is in place to check the quality of food items served on
footpaths. There is dearth of food inspectors. And the few present mostly concentrate on permanent food
joints. Hence, proper training and a monitoring system are the need of the hour to ensure availability of
quality food at roadside kiosks,” said RMC’s chief executive officer Rahul Kumar Purwar.

The programme forms a part of the central government’s three-year plan to create “safe food zones” in
various cities to improve the quality of street fare. Around 500 vendors in each city will be part of the

All the vendors will be covered under health insurance schemes.

The private sector also has a role to play in this venture. Private companies have been roped in to sell newly
designed push carts to the vendors at a discount.

In turn, the companies will be allowed to advertise their products on the surface of the carts.

The modular units will have several compartments for cooking, storing products and ingredients and making
fruit juices. The vendors will be entitled to 25 per cent financial assistance for purchasing the food selling

PM: rationalise tax structure for food

processing industry
Gargi Parsai

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday called for the rationalisation and
simplification of tax structure for the food processing industry that has the potential to transform
rural economy.

“I recognise that we need to look at the taxation structure in the industry. Though primary
agricultural commodities are mostly exempted from taxes, processed foods are subjected to
multiple levies. There is therefore an urgent need to rationalise and simplify the tax structure,” he
said, while opening the first-ever State Ministers’ Conference on Food Processing here.

Representatives of the industry were among those who attended the conference. The Prime Minister
urged the States to play the all-important catalytic role in the food processing industry so that small
and unorganised players could become competitive in the world market. “The food processing
industry is fragmented and most of the players are small and unorganised. This poses a special
challenge to the development of the industry as a whole. The small-scale sector will require hand
holding to make them profitable and even competitive in the world market,” he said.

“The State governments can play and should play an important catalytic role in this effort in
partnership with bankers, financial institutions and technical and management institutions. Small
and Medium Enterprise clusters could be identified for all round upgradation by infusing new
technology, new packaging methods and by providing adequate marketing support.”

Impressive growth

Despite the economic slow-down the food processing industry in India grew at an impressive rate of
14.7 per cent in 2008-09, he said. He asked the industry to “think big” and “think globally” about
the future of the sector. “There is no reason why they should not emerge as global brand names
just as in our IT industry has done to our great satisfaction.

“I recognise that there are a number of constraints both in the forward and backward linkages in
the sector. But if we can get our act together, as we must, India can emerge as a leader in the
global food processing industry.”

Recognising that a few States had already formulated their own State specific policies, Dr. Singh
urged other States to do the same. The Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee Act should be
implemented and so also the Goods and Service Tax that was aimed at integrating State economies
and creating a single, unified Indian market.

National policy

Recognising the effort of the Ministry to draw up a national food processing policy, he asked States
to work in cohesion and seize the immense opportunities on offer “This is a sunrise industry and if
we give it the importance it deserves, it has the potential to dramatically improve rural livelihood
opportunities and employment, to bridge the rural urban divide and to improve farming methods
and practices,” he said.

Noting that the southern States were aware of the potential of the food processing industry while
Central and northern States were also coming up, Food Processing Minister Subodhkant Sahai said
the States should formulate investment-friendly policy.

Promote food processing industry: PM to states

Lamenting high level of wastage and very low value addition in farm products in the country,
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called for rationalisation of tax structure for the food
processing industry — a move that can transform the rural economy. “I recognise that we
need to look at the taxation structure in the industry. Though primary agricultural
commodities are mostly exempted from taxes, processed foods are subjected to multiple
levies. There is, therefore, an urgent need to rationalise and simplify the tax structure,” the
PM said while addressing the conference of state food processing ministries here on

Singh lamented low level of processing of farm products, which stands at only 6 per cent as
against 60-80 per cent processing in developed countries and over 30 per cent in most Asian
and Latin American developing countries. He said this amounts to “loss of business
opportunities as well as losses in farm income” in rural India.

Highlighting 15 per cent growth rate of food processing industry last fiscal year, despite
economic downturn, Singh underlined the need to strengthen infrastructure, widen
innovation and technological development for the sector and work towards achieving
international standards of food safety and quality to compete in the global markets. He called
upon the state governments to engage pro-actively in promoting food processing industry for
the benefit of the economy.

“The state governments can play and should play an important catalytic role in this effort in
partnership with bankers, financial institutions and technical and management institutions.
SME clusters could be identified for all-round upgradation by infusing new technology, new
packaging methods and by providing adequate marketing support. This is a sunrise industry
and if we give it the importance it deserves, it has the potential to dramatically improve rural
livelihood opportunities and employment, to bridge the rural-urban divide and to improve
farming methods ,” he said.

Union Food Processing Industry Minister Subodh Kant Sahay said the Centre has projected
an investment of Rs 1 lakh crore from private sector, in the sector by 2015.

PM for uniform food processing policy

Gargi Parsai

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inaugurate here on Tuesday the first-ever national
conference of State food processing Ministers to give a push for a uniform policy for the growth of
the sector. Of the 35 States and Union Territories invited, 32 have confirmed their participation as
have representatives of industry and research institutions.

The conference will seek “to find the way ahead” so that the estimated post-harvest loss of Rs.
30,000 crore-worth of perishables could be limited. “Food processing is called the sunrise sector but
the sun is rising slowly, as the last step that needs to be taken for the food processing policy to be
in sync with the overview of the Planning Commission, has to be taken,” Food Processing Secretary
Ashok Sinha told journalists here on Monday.

The focus of the policy will be to step up the level of processing food and related produce in the
country, bring down the wastage of perishables and non-perishables, scale up research and
development and create employment opportunities in the process. The Centre will table the issue of
reforming the Agriculture Produce Marketing Act, which allows for setting up private markets. At the
same time it will seek better coordination between the Centre and the States in marketing
arrangements and tax uniformity .

Already, new food processing units in perishables have a 100 per cent tax exemption for the first
five years and a 25 per cent exemption for the next five years.

The Ministry’s ‘Vision 2015’ plan envisages doubling India’s share in the world food processing
market to 3 per cent, increasing the level of processing of perishables from 6 to 20 per cent, and
raising the value addition of such products from 20 to 35 per cent.

The industry is suffering from lack of finances, raw materials, technology and backward linkages
with farmers. There is a possibility of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development
initiating a venture in the food processing industry. “If the project and entrepreneur is good, funds
will come,” Ajit Kumar, joint secretary said.

Pestel Analysis -Asda

Pestel Analysis -Asda

PESTLE Analysis of a food retail industry - ASDA

Must explain specific point relating to Industry
Opportunities and threats
Write down 10 -20 points in each PESTLE


1. Government policy on taxation

2. Political unrest – due to influx of large number of foreign nationals in the country.
3. Unstable Government due to govt inability to stabilise the economy.
4. Government education policy – efforts to encourage more people to stay on high


1. Credit crunch
2. Recession –leads to unemployment
3. High interest rates
4. High cost of living – e.g. high fuel prices/ high supermarket prices (this could lead to
lower demand.
5. New line of products for EU citizens
6. Increased demand due to online-shopping
7. Increase in employment e.g. due to online-shopping – i.e. drivers and ‘home shopping


1. Large influx of EU citizen in the country leading to a high demand for

accommodation, welfare, healthcare and education
2. Changes in social trends –
3. Ageing population could lead to an increase to ASDA’s pension payment for their
employees. It could also lead to another source of labour pool for ASDA to tap into.
4. An ageing population could also lead to unwillingness to work and an increase in
5. Lifestyle changes – longer opening hours in supermarkets means that people are
working longer and / or flexible hours
6. In areas of high concentration of ethnic groups, goods and services are targeted
towards that ethnic group e.g. Slough / Southall


1. New ways of shopping – online-shopping

2. New product types i.e. mobile phones, MP3 players etc
3. Improved efficiency in stock control...

Major Drivers of Change in Agriculture and Food Processing

As with most other industries, the food and agriculture industry is

dynamic and continuously
evolving in response to changes in consumer tastes, competition,
government policies,
technological advances and costs of doing business, including labor
costs. Castroville’s food
and agriculture industry has become what it is today as a result of
these external and internal
pressures to change.
The Salinas Valley’s key advantage is its climate. The growing season
is long, many times
providing two or more harvests per crop on the same piece of land,
increasing the return on
investment on land and infrastructure. Productivity (tons, pounds or
cartons harvested per acre)
has increased so quickly as a result of innovations in cultivation
practices that usually there is
more harvested than can be consumed by the fresh market. Likewise,
the long growing season
allows for a steady, loyal workforce because workers are guaranteed at
least nine months of
work during the growing season and often year-round work as well.
Changing consumer tastes
Consumer tastes have changed over the last two decades increasing
demand for fresh produce,
but also convenience foods—those that require little preparation
before serving. In response,
more and more of Castroville’s growers are devoting a sizable portion
—if not all of their
capacity—to meeting the consumers’ demand for fresh berries,
vegetables, and salads. While
the Castroville area was once the site of a large artichoke processing
industry, today there is
virtually no processing of artichokes. Nearly all artichokes are sold for
the fresh market.
Another incentive for growers to supply the fresh market is the higher
prices they get for
perishable produce grown for the fresh market; growers receive much
lower prices for produce
sold to processors as there is more competition from overseas growers
and processors in that
The increase in productive capacity of Pacific Rim countries (Asia and
South America) has led
to a worldwide over-supply of produce. This, combined with increasing
productivity per acre of
U.S. land, especially in the Salinas Valley, has resulted in lower prices
for everyone. There is
consensus among growers that the amount of land needed for growing
food and flowers could
be reduced without an appreciable difference in income.
Though this region’s particular climate is rare in the rest of the United
States, it is not unique to
other parts of the world, such as South America, Asia and Europe,
especially Spain. But, just as
the climate makes the region superior for growing flowers, fruit and
vegetables, it also makes an
attractive place to live and work. Constrained land supply and demand
for housing have
conspired to increase land rents, housing costs and, as a result, labor
costs. Though other
regions in the world have similar climates, they do not have the high
housing and labor costs
unique to Castroville and are producing flowers, berries and vegetables
far cheaper than
California growers can.
Castroville is the “artichoke capital of the world.” And Monterey County
produces 85% of all
Artichokes grown in California and the U.S. (Riverside County produces
another 10% during
Monterey County’s wet winter months) But artichokes are grown
wherever there is a
Mediterranean climate—dry summer days and cool nights. The largest
international threat to
the artichoke market is Spain. There, according to agricultural industry
executives, artichoke
growers and distributors are subsidized by their government to grow
and ship artichokes. And,
the United States has either reduced or eliminated tariffs on imported
artichokes from Spain.
In turn, domestic artichoke processing is virtually non-existent as
canned and bottled artichokes
from Spain which fill the restaurant and food chain shelves are priced
lower than what domestic
processors could sell them for. Spanish artichokes could not survive
the long trip to American
shores, so California artichokes are grown exclusively for the fresh,
domestic market.
The biggest current threat to the tree fruit, berry and fresh vegetable
industry is China. So far,
China’s capacity to meet world demand is limited—they simply are not
producing enough—yet.
As their capacity grows, exports of Salinas Valley-grown vegetables
and berries to the Asian
market will decrease. Castroville vegetable and berry growers are
predominantly supplying
produce for the domestic fresh market but also to the Canadian and
Asian markets. Some
operate farms in the Coachella Valley and in Chile in order to meet
year-round demand for
fresh produce.
China is increasingly a world player in food processing. With the
advantage of new plants using
newer technology and machines and lower labor costs, China will be
the source of processed
fruits and vegetables for most of the Pacific Rim. Fresh produce will be
exported to most of
Asia—China, Japan, Korea, and India-- and processed vegetables and
fruit will be shipped
overseas in the form of juice concentrate, syrups, jams, or frozen
foods. Since few local growers
supply the processing industry, imports of processed vegetables and
fruit from China may have
only minimal impact locally. The largest impact will be the loss of the
Asian export market,
primarily Japan.
For the flower industry—both nursery and field grown--South America,
especially Columbia
and Ecuador, has been the most powerful competitor. South America
has been increasing its
domination in the world flower market. In the 70s they began to
dominate the carnation
market, and in the 80s, they began to dominate the rose market.
California flower growers are
now forced to diversify away from roses and carnations and into a
multitude of other varieties,
including orchids, bulb plants, alstromerius and statice.
Flower, fruit and vegetable production is labor intensive, requiring
more labor per pound than
grain crops that are machine-harvested. Labor is often the primary
input and high labor costs
lead to higher prices for fresh produce. (There is some experimentation
going on with machineharvesting
fruits, but only for fruits that will be processed into juices or jams, i.e.
Due to Castroville’s constrained housing supply, housing costs are
among the highest in the
nation. To afford area rents, farm workers demand higher wages. For
now, Castroville’s unique
nine to ten-month growing season and the high value of crops grown
there, allow growers,
shippers and processors to attract experienced and skilled workers by
offering higher wages and
health benefits. In fact, Monterey County farm worker compensation is
among the highest, if
not the highest, in the nation.
All food processors, packers and distributors interviewed need workers
with greater
competency in literacy, numeracy and computer skills. They also need
workers that can operate
and maintain increasingly more complex and computer operated
machinery and equipment. So
far, there is a dirth of such workers in the region.
The cost of labor in the region is driving food processors to
continuously look for ways to cut
costs. Since lowering compensation is not an option, they are making
investments into modern
capital plant and equipment as a means of increasing productivity per
worker. Only in this way
can the processors compete with both domestic and international
rivals and stay open for
With upgrades in equipment, processors need workers with more
sophisticated literacy,
numeracy and computer skills. All cold storage and processing
managers interviewed for this
study provide on-the-job training, whether they employ hundreds of
workers or only a dozen.
On-the-job-training involves not only basic work skills, such as
teamwork, conflict resolution,
and managing change and diversity, but also involves learning a
particular firm’s culture,
philosophy, processes, operations and requisite skills. One is widely
known for its on-going
ESL classes in the evenings.
Companies seem to have little problem recruiting the administrative
and managerial staff they
need. They have a considerably more difficult time recruiting and
keeping technical staff, such
as electricians, machine operators, mechanics and machinists—people
who can operate and
maintain increasingly complex and computer operated machinery and
equipment. As
processors automate more of their operations, they require workers
with a higher level of
technical competency. For the most part, processors are forced to do
remedial training
themselves, which cuts into the profitability and viability of the firm.
Only one company interviewed was taking advantage of a state-
sponsored training grant.
Companies were not at all aware of any technical training programs
offered at any school in the
region or of any statewide programs. None have heard of the
Workforce Development Board.
One who knew about reimbursement of training expenses refused to
do the paperwork
necessary stating that the opportunity cost in time needed to fill out
paperwork was not equal to
or greater than the benefit.
Without the requisite technicians, processors can’t take full advantage
of newer equipment.
And, without engineers trained to design, build and maintain newer
equipment, U.S. food
manufacturers must go to Germany or Italy to buy increasingly more
expensive and
sophisticated machinery.
The shortage of technicians and industrial engineers is universal
throughout the United States,
affecting all industries, including software. Whereas European and
Asian countries such as
Germany and China provide technical/vocational school options for
students not desiring an
academic career, the U.S. has no such option. Most skilled trades
people like machinists and
other technical workers will be retiring within the next decade. With
few technical/vocational
schools opening in the west and many of the east coast schools closing
due to drops in
enrollment, manufacturers are forced to pay 6-figure salaries to the
few skilled trade workers
available. Part of the drive to move manufacturing overseas is to take
advantage of other
countries’ investments in vocational/technical training, providing state-
of-the-art plants and
highly skilled workers.
Both retail and institutional buyers, such as Albertsons, Wal-Mart,
Sysco and others have
bought out competitors, limiting the number of customers for fruit,
vegetables and flowers to
little more than a handful. These buyers have more leverage to keep
prices low, limiting the
return to growers. Also, these larger, but fewer, buyers are limiting
their suppliers, requiring
each to be able to supply produce year-round. Growers, as a result, are
increasingly operating
farms in Coachella Valley (Riverside County), Florida, Mexico, and
According to the 2001 Agricultural Commissioner’s report, organic
production increased from
$12 million in 1994 to $108 million in 2001. As larger growers devote
more acreage to
organically grown fruit and produce, the premium that growers have
received for organic crops
will disappear. Small farmers who were able to farm viably due to the
premium on organic will
be forced out of the industry, forced to diversify and/or supplement
with non-farm income or
grow larger. Though there may no longer be a premium paid for
organic, there will still be a
preference for organic in some markets, and this preference alone can
sustain some organic
Methyl bromide, a fumigant widely used in production of strawberries
and other fruits and
vegetables, is scheduled for a complete phase-out by January 1, 2005
in accordance with the
Montreal Protocol, a global treaty to control ozone depletion. By 2003,
the supply of methyl
bromide will have dropped by 75% since 1991.
At this point, no truly viable alternative to methyl bromide exists. Not
using it could drastically
reduce production and viability of the industry within the entire United
States. Research by
chemical companies, the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and
Education Program and the
Strawberry Commission is underway to find an alternative. Lobbyists
from berry grower
associations are pressuring the Bush Administration to delay the
effective date of the regulation
or exempt certain crops, such as strawberries. Use of 1,3-D (Telone) is
expected to increase by
up to 500%, but current State restrictions limit total use within 36-
square-mile areas, known as
In the past, farm cultivation practices led to pollution of creeks and
streams and erosion of
farmland leading to excessive silting of waterways. As a result,
legislators enacted laws that put
restrictions on chemical use and cultivation of hillsides. Farm
cultivation practices have changed
dramatically in the past 20 years resulting in safer work environments
for workers, safer food
for consumers, and healthier waterways for wildlife and urban water
supply systems. At the
same time, productivity has increased just as dramatically,
demonstrating significant innovation
in agricultural practices.
Despite these changes and innovations, farmers are continuing to be
challenged by increasingly
restrictive environmental regulations meant to preserve the diversity
of wildlife and healthy
For instance, despite severe flooding of rivers in the region, proposed
policy changes may result
in lowering the capacity of flood channels to safeguard wild life habitat.
Reduced capacity of
flood channels means farms will be more prone to flooding than they
were in the past. After
the 1995 floods, Artichoke Industries, Inc., (aka Cara Mia) was forced
out of business when
their supply of artichokes was flooded. Domestic retailers stocked their
shelves with Spanish
artichokes and Cara Mia could never regain its dominance.
Grower/shippers sell their produce FOB. As such, the buyer, be it
Safeway or Wal-Mart, pays
for shipping the produce—usually by refrigerated truck. The buyer is
responsible for
contracting with trucking firms and there are several in the region.
On the other hand, processed food and most flowers are shipped by
the processor and flower
grower. Processed food can travel by refrigerated rail cars or
refrigerated trucks. Flowers are
also sent by air to the East Coast.
For shipping small quantities of extremely perishable goods, such as
flowers and fresh berries,
trucks and air travel work well. But for large quantities, trucks are very
expensive and rail is
more efficient—when it’s working. UP’s ability to be responsive to
shippers of perishable foods
and flowers has been limited. Their stock of refrigerated cars is
obsolete and limited, the loading
facilities and the personnel are non-existent, and resulting loss and
damage is too high to be
used profitably.
Castroville’s location close to Highway 101 is advantageous for
trucking. However, trucking
will become increasingly more expensive in the future. In the next few
years, diesel powered
vehicles will be required to use a newer, cleaner fuel, requiring both
changes to the diesel engine
and changes to the fuel supply.
Urban encroachment is a threat to the viability of agriculture for two
reasons. First, EPA
restricts the application of chemicals within a prescribed distance of
urban development, so as
houses, schools or stores locate close to farmland, that farmland is
effectively put out of
production. Second, though urban dwellers prefer to have property
that abuts farmland, they
are annoyed by and fearful of typical farm operations, including the
application of chemicals,
tilling (produces dust), harvesting (lots of strangers around) and noise.
Their complaints agitate
farmers and cause them to implement practices that reduce yields and
return on investment.
Buffers between farm operations and food processing and urban
development are critical to the
viability of agriculture. Farm operators, up to now, have been forced to
pay for these buffers in
the form of land lying fallow or under-utilized. County land use policies
need to bear in mind
the impact on farming of indiscriminate location of urban uses,
especially housing.
Other key drivers of change in the food processing industry have to do
with private branding,
packaging, the increasing cost of water and electricity, and food
Private branding is currently more prevalent in Europe than in the U.S.
Major U.S. retailers
are catching on though and increasing the number of food and other
items with their own
private label on them, such as “Safeway Select.” They will devote more
shelf space to their own
label, drive costs down by importing supplies and offer two-for-one
sales that is similar to
dumping, which creates a tougher competitive environment for food
processing companies.
Packaging--Consumers and retailers are increasingly bombarded with a
dizzying array of
products in all different size containers—the same is true in berries,
juices and other food
products. Grower/shippers and processors with limited flexibility in
packaging may be at a
disadvantage to respond quickly to changes in demand in packaging.
Cost of water--There is, as yet, no feasible way to collect rainwater for
use during the dry
summer months. Much of the water needed for irrigation is pumped
from the underlying
aquifer. But during dry years, water is pumped from the aquifer at a
faster rate than it is being
recharged. This is causing saltwater intrusion from the ocean,
effectively making the water from
some areas of the aquifer unusable for irrigation.
Cost of gas and electricity—according to a local greenhouse, gas prices
skyrocketed to
$50,000 per month during the winter of 2001. And, a little over 2 years
ago, another local firm,
a food processor, paid $16,000 per month for electricity; now it pays
over $96,000/month for
electricity. To remain competitive, local firms need access to fairly
priced electricity and gas.
Food security—American food processors and food growers are the
most highly regulated
industries in the world. They are regulated by EPA, FDA, USDA, state
agencies, such as Cal
OSHA, regional agencies and local agencies. Food safety has always
been their primary concern.
As a result American-grown produce can demand higher prices around
the globe because the
buyer knows it is the safest imported food available. But now,
American firms are investing
even more in securing the food they are shipping, taking steps to
insure that the food is not
tampered with either on the plant site or in transit.