Aiming to boost growth of food processing sector, the government on Thursday said all 42 sanctioned mega food parks would be operational within the next two years and announced plans to set up 500 cold chain projects to reduce post-harvest losses of fruits and vegetables.
Union Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said the government would soon sanction 100 new cold chain projects and has decided to set up 500 cold chain projects across the country. She also stressed on the need for establishing small agro- processing clusters at the producing centres.
"Eight mega food parks have become operational and another 4 parks would be operational in the next 3-4 months. All 42 would be operational in the next 24 months," Badal said on the sidelines of a CII event.
The mega food parks would help immensely in increasing the processing level of fruits and vegetables, which is currently at only 10 per cent, she said, adding that raising processing level and value addition would boost farmers income.
Under the scheme (2008-09) of mega food parks, the ministry had sanctioned 42 projects throughout the country.
"Mega food parks is in all states barring few. They have been allocated on a transparent manner," she said.
Asked about the initiative on cold chains, Badal said: "138 cold chains were sanctioned earlier. Now, 100 new cold chains projects would be developed. We are seeking expression of interest till November 15 and then we will sanction it. These cold chains would come up in next 18 months".
The government has decided to set up 500 cold chains across the country to boost food processing sector, which grew by more than 7% last year, she said.
A total of 138 integrated cold chain projects were sanctioned by the government till last year. Out of this, 91 are operational.
The ministry is implementing a Central Sector Scheme of Cold Chain, Value Addition and Preservation Infrastructure under which assistance is provided to set up integrated cold chain infrastructure for arresting post-harvest losses of horticulture & non-horticulture produce subject to a maximum grant-in-aid of Rs 10 crore per project.
Badal said the government will next year organise world food fair which would bring all stakeholders at one platform, including progressing farmers.
The international food companies are showing keen interest to invest in food processing sector after the Centre allowed 100% FDI in marketing of food products manufactured and produced in India, she added.
Updated Date: Oct 28, 2016 10:10 AM