Govt aims to boost use of artificial intelligence in food processing

India plans to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the food processing sector to improve efficiency, enhance farmers’ incomes and reduce the environmental impact, officials said on Wednesday.

At a conference organised by NIFTEM (National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management) on using frontier technologies in the sector, senior bureaucrats and government advisors stressed the need for a roadmap to deploy AI tools, which are still at a nascent stage in the country’s massive food processing industry.

”As an industry, we need to create a roadmap. The MEITY secretary has come on board. I am sure he is going to be a big support in this endeavour,” Food Processing Secretary Anita Praveen said, referring to the secretary of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY).
MEITY Secretary S Krishnan pitched for wider adoption of AI, saying some work was already happening in agriculture but the food processing sector was still in the early stages of using such technologies.

NITI Aayog member Ramesh Chand said efficient food processing was ”climate smart”, helping enhance farmer incomes, satisfy consumers and reduce environmental impact amid increasing climate change challenges.

He suggested using AI to develop simple portable devices for quality assaying of agricultural produce, which could be a ”great service to the nation”. ”Can we think of low-scale devices to check the quality of the produce? In the absence of assaying devices, we are still focusing on quantity rather than quality,” Chand said.
The officials said AI tools could help improve overall sector efficiency as India aims to reach net zero emissions by 2070.

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