Government to establish 250 agro-processing clusters all over India

NEW DELHI: Government plans to set up 250 small agro-processing clusters at an estimated cost of over Rs 5000 crore, Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said today.

After getting the required approvals, the Food Processing Ministry will invite expressions of interest from both public and private players.

“We are looking to establish small agro-processing clusters near producing area of one specific fruit or vegetable. So, if someone wants to establish small processing cluster like for onion, he can do that and the government will provide subsidy of up to Rs 5 crore per cluster,” Badal told reporters here.

The idea behind this proposal is to take the processing at doorstep of the farmers so that their income can be raised and at the same time wastages can also be reduced which will also help in checking the rise in prices, she said.

The blue print has been prepared to establish 250 such small clusters and each cluster will require an investment of nearly Rs 20 crore, Badal said.

Sharing the achievements of the government, the minister said that 32 lakh tonnes of food processing capacity with an investment of about Rs 2,000 crore has been established in last two years.

“With this, India has started moving toward zero tolerance of food wastages. The new addition of processing capacity will reduce wastage of fruits and vegetables worth Rs 9,000 crore per annum because the same value of these commodities can now be processed,” Badal said.

On one side, this addition of capacity is helping the farmers to realise better income for their produce and on ther side, it will also keep the prices of perishables under check, she added.

Badal further said the Narendra Modi led government has sanctioned 37 Mega Food Parks, out of which eight have been operationalised. Out of these eight, six were operationalised in 2 years of NDA tenure while 2 were made operational in 10 years of UPA tenure, she said.

Similarly, 134 cold chain projects were sanctioned and 81 have been completed. Out of which 44 were done in only 2 years of NDA tenure, she added.

With the completion of these cold chains, we have added a capacity of 1.28 lakh metric tonnes of cold storages, 53.05 tonne per hour of individual quick freeze (IQF) and 19 lakh litres per day of milk processing capacity, she said.

Source: The Economic Times. Date: Jun 02, 2016