Aahar – the International Food & Hospitality Fair is scheduled to begin at New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan from March 12 this year, which shall be the 34th year. It will run for five days, i.e. till March 16. Although this year Aahar will witness a limited display area, the spirit will remain high, and ITPO officials feel that they will be able to manage to host a decent event.

This year, due to the reconstruction underway at the venue, the fair area has been reduced to around 25, 000sq m, which is almost half of the area available previously. This year, the area shall spread from Hall 7-12A and some open space.

The event is organised by the Indian Trade Promotion Council (ITPO), an arm of the Ministry of Commerce involved in event management for promotion of Indian trade and commerce.

“ITPO, however, has tried to made arrangements to cater to the need of the participants but due to the lack of space, the number of participants is also expected to be low,” said Hema Maiti, general manager, trade fairs, ITPO.

“We, however, have tried to accommodate as many participants as we can, and this year we expect close to 600 participants to join AAHAR,” she said.

Supported by the Ministry of Food Processing and Industries (MoFPI), Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (apeda) and industry associations like The Hotel and Restaurant Equipment Manufacturers Association of  India (HOTREMAI), Association of Resource Companies for the Hospitality Industry of  India (ARCHII), Food and Hospitality Support Association of India (FHSAI), the All India Food Processors’ Association (AIFPA) and the Forum of Indian Food Importers (FIFI), the fair is expected to witness participation from major food and hospitality players.

Explaining about the relevance of the fair, Maiti said that India’s food and grocery market is the sixth largest in the world. The Indian food sector is a high-growth sector with immense potential for value addition. It is expected to touch $482 billion by 2020. The food processing industry in India accounts for 32 per cent of the country’s total food market and 14 per cent of the manufacturing GDP (gross domestic product). It is estimated that the food processing sectors have the potential to attract $33 billion investment in the next 10 years.