APEDA proposes AEZ for agricultural exports in Northeast

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Agartala, Oct 22 (UNI) In a bid to promote export business of agricultural products in the Northeastern states, the Agriculture and Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA) has proposed to develop an exclusive Agri Exports Zone (AEZ) in the region.

Official sources said here today that as part of the project, the APEDA had considered Guwahati airport for setting up walk-in cold store, while steps were being taken to set up similar infrastructure at Agartala, Aizawl, Dimapur and Imphal airports.

Besides storage facilities in important airports, the Union Agriculture Ministry had approved common pack-house facilities for agro-products in different parts of Assam and mechanised handling facilities for egg washing, sorting and grading at Saroor Nagar in Andhra Pradesh.

Officials stated that a joint study, conducted by APEDA and ICRA Management Consulting Services Ltd, had proposed 12 growth centres, connecting a number of AEZs across the country, at an estimated investment of Rs 15,000 crore.

''The project calls for investments by all stakeholders, including central and state government agencies and the private sector, to ensure collection centres providing post-harvest management, storage facilities, value addition centres at points and transportation of containers and vans to the identified hubs, connected to air and sea ports,'' officials underlined.

They also stated that the APEDA had initiated the process of setting up state-of-the-art centres for perishable cargo at 11 airports in collaboration with multiple stakeholders and a MoU was signed with the Gujarat Agro Industries Corporation and Concor for setting up a centre for perishable cargo at Ahmedabad airport with an investment of Rs 2.5 crore.

Similarly, the APEDA had signed another MoU with the Airports Authority of India for setting up a centre for perishable cargo at Dumdum airport in Kolkata at an estimated investment of Rs 2.53 crore, which was expected to be completed by December, the officials added.

UNI

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