December 18/New Delhi, India/Press Release -- Cargill is investing in India's burgeoning processed food sector with a $73 million corn milling unit, the head of its India operation said.

India's 1.2 billion population is eating increasing amounts of packaged and processed foods, using the financial benefits of an economy growing at nearly 6% to try western staples from McDonald's to Knorr packet soups.

"We aim to start a corn milling unit with a daily 800 to 1,000 tons processing capacity by 2014," Siraj Chaudhry, chairman of Cargill India, told reporters.

The company, a bellwether of world commodity markets, is acquiring land at Davangere in Karnataka, the top corn-producing state in India, Asia's second-largest grower of the grain behind China.