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COVID-19 lockdown: Britannia fears shortage of packaged foods

'India's packaged food stock could run out in 10 days

Friday, March 27, 2020, 15:06 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff | Hyderabad

Government support and intervention are required to restore supply chains with immediate effect, Managing Director of Britannia Industries, Varun Berry, said on Thursday, cautioning that the country could run out of stocks of packaged food within ten days if even a single link is broken.

The food industry supply chain is disaggregated and dependent on inter-state movement of goods, Berry said in a statement.

"Due to the nature of the materials, inventories across the chain are low. If even one link in the supply chain is broken, the country could run out of stocks of packaged food in the next 7-10 days," he cautioned.

Thus it is imperative that the supply chain for food products be restored in entirety and allowed to function with adequate safety measures and police protection, it was pointed out.

The supply chain includes suppliers of raw materials and packaging materials, food manufacturing factories, factory workers, transporters carrying materials and finished goods, depots, wholesalers, distributors and their salesmen. Necessary permits need to be immediately issued to all of them, Berry said.

"Our factories are primed to manufacture products at this time with all due hygiene and social distancing protocols in place. But we need support from district authorities in allowing our factory workers to travel to the factory premises with appropriate safeguards, he said.

While the Central government has issued all necessary permissions, the immediate need of the hour is that it be percolated right down to the district authorities.

"This will help us kick-start production and ensure un-interrupted supply of essential packaged foods throughout the country," Berry said.

"We echo the voice of the industry and stand by the government in its measures to curb people movement and fight the (COVID-19) pandemic," he said.

Food is a declared Essential commodity as per the Essential Commodities Act 1955 and the Food processing industry has been exempted from the Work and Movements restrictions imposed at this point in time, Berry noted. As reiterated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, essential food commodities must be made available to people at all points in time and throughout the country to ensure that people dont indulge in panic buying.

(Source: PTI)

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