“There is an urgent need to explore the full-potential of processed food and hospitality sectors as these sectors are imperative, not only for India ‘s socio-economic progress but also for enhancing exports and employment in the country. The Government has geared up to launch a ‘pro-farmer based agri-policy’ to ensure farmers are encouraged to imbibe value addition of their produce and connect with the export activity directly. They can become an integral part of retail and supply chain globally. Events such as ‘AAHAR’ are vital in providing an excellent platform for all the stakeholders to have meaningful interaction, collaboration and investment opportunities,” asserted Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister of Commerce and Industries, Government of India, while inaugurating the 33rd edition of AAHAR – the international food and hospitality fair – on March 13 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfIn his inaugural speech, the Minister complimented the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) and its associates for hosting Aahar 2018. Expressing his satisfaction with redevelopment project of Pragati Maidan he said that such an iconic infrastructure is imperative to fulfil “New India” aspiration.AAHAR is a one-stop solution for catering Indian delicacies to the international platter. It is a visionary of transforming India globally and is giving an international platform to Indian SME’s to the global market. The fair will go on till March 17, 2018. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveHighlighting vast export potential of marine sector products, the Minister mentioned that there are 13 coastal states in India with abundant marine products. He indicated that a comprehensive roadmap is being prepared by the government to double the exports of marine products soon. Referring to the participation of Japan in the fair, he pointed out that India has to adopt Japanese innovations and technology to provide a fillip to the marine sector through value addition and preservation practices of marine products. Stressing on the need to vitalize the hospitality sectors, he indicated that the fair is devoted to ‘food’ and ‘hospitality’ which are an integral part of India’s ancient heritage and culture with the world-famed slogan ‘Athithi Devo Bhava’. “The country registered 17 to 20 percent increase in the aviation market last year, we have to prepare ourself in providing quality services in hospitality including conducive air travel and cargo facilities”, he further added. This edition of AAHAR has much to offer to the world with 18 foreign countries participating, who are masters of food export industry. USA, China, Italy, Japan, Tunisia, Poland, Turkey, Spain, Oman, South Korea, Thailand, UAE, Peru, Indonesia, Canada, Hongkong, Norway, Singapore brings their best techniques and products to share with the world. Present on the occasion were Jacek Bogucki, First Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Republic of Poland, Nejmeddine Lakhal, Ambassador of the Republic of Tunisia, Mitsuhiro Miyakoshi, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Japan, LC Goyal, CMD, India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), Narendra Kumar Singh, CMD, APEDA and Deepak Kumar, Executive Director, ITPO. LC Goyal in his key address said that the redevelopment project of Pragati Maidan as a world class ‘International Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre’ is on the right track. “The next AAHAR edition will be organized with its enhanced scale as new halls would be available in February/March 2019”. An exclusive Culinary Art Competition would be organized by the Indian Culinary Forum in Lounge B (near Gate 1) while other major attractions are exclusive seminar in Hall 8 (Auditorium) on “The Role of R&D and Food Safety in the Development of Food Processing Sector” by AIFPA (at 9 am on March 14).The fair has been organized by the ITPO with the support of Ministry of Food Processing and Industries, Government of India, APEDA along with other apex bodies such as AIFPA, ARCHI, HOTERMAI, FHSAI and FIFI for the fair.AAHAR is open for the business visitors from 10 am to 6 pm every day until March 17. Visitors can park their vehicles at Bhairon Road parking.