Terming food processing as industry having immense potential in North East, Union Minister Rameswar Teli on Tuesday emphasized that the sector has not been explored to its optimum yet in the region.
Addressing a workshop on ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana’ (PMKSY) at the Banquet Hall here, the Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industry (FPI) assured that his Ministry would leave no stone unturned to make it a game-changer in the region.
Teli, who represents Dibrugarh Parliamentary constituency in Assam, expressed surprise that food processing as an industry was never given a second thought in the North-East even by intellectuals.
He said the region with its vast resources and bio-diversity produces ample exotic fruits and vegetables, which can be made economically viable through the food processing industry.
To give a fillip to the industry, the Union Minister said that his Ministry is planning to establish a Food Technology Institute in Assam so that youths of the region can qualify as food technology professionals.
Citing the rich potential of Arunachal Pradesh in the sector, Teli called for the creation of a food processing department to exclusively deal with the subject and offered full cooperation of his Ministry.
To drive home the Ministry’s commitment to uplift the Sector, the Minister urged the State government to fast-track the establishment of a Mega Food Park in Arunachal already approved by the Ministry.
“Of the Rs 140 crore for North East, we still have Rs 110 crore unspent. Therefore, the States of the region need to accelerate the development of Mega Food Parks and Mini Food Parks as envisaged and proposed,” Teli informed.
He urged entrepreneurs and progressive farmers present to take full advantage of the workshop and equip themselves with prospects and benefits under the PMKSY.
The ‘PM Kisan Sampada Yojana’ is a comprehensive package that will result in the creation of modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management from farm gate to retail outlet.
It will not only provide a big boost to the growth of Food Processing Sector in the country but also help in providing better returns to farmers and is a big step towards doubling of farmers’ income, creating huge employment opportunities especially in the rural areas, reducing wastage of agricultural produce, increasing the processing level and enhancing the export of the processed foods.
Under PMKSY, seven schemes are being implemented including Mega Food Parks, Integrated Cold Chain, and Value Addition Infrastructure, Creation/Expansion of Food Processing/Preservation Capacities, Infrastructure for Agro-processing Clusters, Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages, Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure and Human Resources and Institutions. The PMKSY is expected to leverage investment of Rs. 31,400 crore for the handling of 334 lakh MT agro-produce valued at Rs. 1,04,125 crore, benefiting 20 lakh farmers and generating 5,30,500 direct/indirect employment in the country by the year 2019-20.
The workshop is being organized by the NE chapter of the Indian Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Ministry of Food Processing Industry and facilitated by the state department of Industry.
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