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Centre earmarks Rs 650 cr for food processing

R.S. Rangarajan

Among the 36 proposals sanctioned, 29 parks would be promoted by the Government, six by the private sector and one as a joint venture.

VIRUDHUNAGAR, Nov. 11

THIRTY-SIX proposals for establishing industrial parks for food processing units have been sanctioned, the Union Minister for Food Processing Industries, Mr N.T. Shanmugam, said here.

Inaugurating the Indian Food Park, a Rs 12-crore private sector industrial park for food processing units at Palavanatham today, Mr Shanmugam said the development of food processing industry afforded great scope for Indian rural prosperity and all along the progress was hampered due to poor infrastructure.

As entrepreneurs could not provide for everything, provision of common facilities such as cold storage, testing laboratories etc was thought necessary. During the current plan, a provision of Rs 650 crore has been made for the development of this sector.

Among the 36 proposals sanctioned, 29 parks would be promoted by the Government, six by the private sector and one as a joint venture, he said.

Speaking further, he said, the Central Government provided a subsidy of 25 per cent to the entrepreneurs subject to a maximum of Rs 50 lakh.

It has also been decided to provide an incentive of Rs 2 crore for units set up in the packaging industry. There is a need to make entrepreneurs become aware of these provisions.

The subsidy can be availed for establishing new rice mills, modernisation and expansion of existing rice mills, oil mills, flower mills, bakery units, chilling centres, confectionaries and manufacture of ice-cream.

Non-governmental organisations also can come forward to establish such parks to give a fillip to the industry. Applications were to be routed through the State Government, he said.

A proposal to establish an agricultural export zone in the Southern districts is under consideration, he mentioned.

Presiding over the function, the State Minister for Agriculture, Mr R. Jeevanandham, appreciated the efforts of the private promoters and said though India was rich in agricultural and horticultural products, only 2 per cent of production was preserved because of lack of infrastructure.

If the preservation capacity could be raised to 20 per cent, more value addition could be provided and thereby boost rural prosperity.

In countries such as America and Brazil 70 per cent of production got processed. Sensing the potential of agriculture, the Government of Tamil Nadu has initiated an attempt to bring 20 lakh hectares under cultivation.

An industrial park for food processing would soon be coming up at Nilakottai in Dindugal district promoted by Small Industries Devlopment Corporation of Tamil Nadu. Farmers should use organic manure to raise quality products, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, the President of Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr S. Rethinavel, observed that the food processing industry was a sleeping giant in India, pleaded for more incentives for the industry to enable them compete with multinational companies. He demanded that Madurai airport be made an international airport so that food-processing units could profitably engage in exports.

The Director of Agricultural Marketing, Mr K. Ganesan, said that under the New Anna Marumalarchi Thittam, the State Government was extending 15 per cent subsidy for agro-based units in each block in the State and the response has been encouraging.

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