Teli, expressed surprise that food processing as an industry was never given a second thought in the North East even by intellectuals.
Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industry (FPI) Rameswar Teli today emphasized that food processing is an industry that has immense potential in the North East but hasn’t been explored to its optimum yet and assured his ministry will leave no stone unturned to make it a game-changer in the region.
Speaking at the inaugural function of a Workshop on Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana (PMKSY) here at State Banquet Hall, Teli, who represents Dibrugarh Parliamentary constituency in the Parliament, 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 this sector, Teli called for 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 MoS 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, states of the region need to accelerate 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.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu informed that all decks have been cleared for establishment of the Mega Food Park near the state capital and the state government will provide all basic facilities like water and power supply as required under the scheme.
Underscoring the state’s potential in agri-horti produces like kiwi, orange, apple, pineapple, banana, tea, etc, Khandu said if food processing is taken up extensively, it in itself could change the economy of the farming community.
He cited lack of market knowledge as one big hindrance in take off of the farming sector and called for enhancing farmers’ knowledge on latest market trends and demands.
“Nature has given us so much, we can easily become the richest and happiest state in the country,” –Pema Khandu,
Khandu informed that the state government has already prepared a roadmap to boost the agri-horti sector based on which schemes are being formulated and launched phase-wise.
“We have set a target to at least benefit 90000 farmers in the state by 2022,” he added.
Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and state’s Industry Minister Tumke Bagra also spoke on the occasion. Both admitted the need for creating awareness amongst the mass on the food processing sector besides central government’s special assistance in grant of funds for implementation of schemes.
WHAT IS PMKSY
PM Kisan SAMPADA Yojana is a comprehensive package which will result in 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 viz. 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.
PMKSY is expected to leverage investment of Rs. 31,400 crore for 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 Ministry of Food Processing Industry and facilitated by the state department of Industry.