PLI Scheme: A Game Changer in the Food Processing Industry

PLI Scheme: A Game Changer in the Food Processing Industry

The Indian food processing industry, a critical segment of the economy, has been witnessing rapid growth and transformation. To further accelerate this growth and make India a global food manufacturing hub, the Government of India introduced the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme. This initiative is poised to be a game-changer, providing substantial incentives to food processing companies, encouraging investment, and enhancing competitiveness. This blog explores the PLI scheme, its implications for the food processing industry, and how it is set to revolutionize the sector.

Understanding the PLI Scheme

The Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme is a strategic initiative launched by the Government of India to boost domestic manufacturing and attract investments across various sectors. For the food processing industry, the PLI scheme was introduced in March 2021 with a financial outlay of INR 10,900 crores over a six-year period. The primary objectives of the PLI scheme in the food processing sector are:

  1. Increase Production Capacity: Encourage companies to expand their manufacturing capacities and scale up production.
  2. Promote Exports: Enhance the export potential of Indian food products by making them more competitive in the global market.
  3. Generate Employment: Create job opportunities and enhance the skill level of the workforce.
  4. Boost Farmer Income: Strengthen the agricultural value chain, benefiting farmers by providing them better prices for their produce.

Key Features of the PLI Scheme for Food Processing

  1. Incentive Structure: The scheme offers financial incentives to eligible food processing companies based on their sales and investments. These incentives are calculated as a percentage of the incremental sales over the base year.
  1. Eligibility Criteria: Companies must meet specific criteria to qualify for the scheme, including minimum sales thresholds, committed investment plans, and a focus on identified product segments such as ready-to-eat foods, processed fruits and vegetables, marine products, and innovative products like organic foods and health snacks.
  1. Focus on MSMEs: The scheme provides special incentives and support for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), recognizing their crucial role in the food processing ecosystem.
  1. Innovation and Research: Emphasis is placed on promoting innovation, research and development, and the adoption of modern technology in food processing.
  1. Export Promotion: Additional incentives are provided for companies that achieve significant export growth, aiming to position India as a global leader in food exports.

Impact of the PLI Scheme on the Food Processing Industry

  1. Increased Investment and Capacity Expansion: The PLI scheme is expected to attract significant investments in the food processing sector. By providing financial incentives, the scheme encourages companies to invest in new technologies, expand their production capacities, and upgrade their facilities. This influx of investment will lead to the modernization of the industry, making it more efficient and competitive.
  1. Enhanced Global Competitiveness: With the PLI scheme’s focus on promoting exports, Indian food processing companies are likely to become more competitive on the global stage. The incentives for export growth will drive companies to improve product quality, adhere to international standards, and adopt best practices. This will not only boost export volumes but also enhance the reputation of Indian food products in the global market.
  1. Employment Generation and Skill Development: The expansion of the food processing industry under the PLI scheme will create numerous job opportunities, both directly and indirectly. New manufacturing units, increased production capacities, and enhanced value chains will require a skilled workforce. The scheme encourages companies to invest in training and skill development programs, equipping the workforce with the necessary skills to meet industry demands.
  1. Boost to Farmers and the Agricultural Sector: The food processing industry is closely linked to the agricultural sector. By encouraging investments in food processing, the PLI scheme indirectly benefits farmers. Increased demand for raw materials will provide farmers with better market access and improved prices for their produce. Additionally, the development of value chains and infrastructure will reduce post-harvest losses, ensuring better returns for farmers.
  1. Promotion of Innovation and R&D: The PLI scheme’s emphasis on innovation and research and development will drive the adoption of new technologies and innovative products in the food processing industry. Companies will be encouraged to invest in R&D to develop new products, improve existing ones, and adopt sustainable practices. This focus on innovation will lead to a diverse range of high-quality food products, catering to evolving consumer preferences.

Challenges and Considerations

While the PLI scheme holds immense potential, there are challenges and considerations that need to be addressed to ensure its success

  1. Implementation and Monitoring: Effective implementation and monitoring of the scheme are crucial to prevent misuse and ensure that the intended benefits reach the targeted companies and sectors. Transparent processes and robust monitoring mechanisms are essential.
  1. Infrastructure Development: The success of the PLI scheme depends on the availability of adequate infrastructure, such as cold storage facilities, logistics, and supply chain networks. The government needs to complement the scheme with investments in infrastructure development.
  1. Awareness and Accessibility: Ensuring that all eligible companies, especially MSMEs, are aware of the scheme and can easily access its benefits is vital. Simplified application processes and outreach programs can help achieve this.
  1. Sustainability: While promoting growth and competitiveness, it is essential to ensure that the development is sustainable. Encouraging environmentally friendly practices and sustainable sourcing can help achieve long-term benefits.


The PLI scheme for the food processing industry is indeed a game-changer. By providing financial incentives, promoting investments, and encouraging innovation, the scheme aims to transform the Indian food processing sector into a global powerhouse. The expected outcomes include increased production capacities, enhanced export competitiveness, job creation, and better incomes for farmers. However, to fully realize the potential of the PLI scheme, effective implementation, robust infrastructure development, and a focus on sustainability are crucial. With these elements in place, the PLI scheme can drive the growth of the food processing industry, making a significant contribution to India’s economic development and global standing in the food sector.

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