Govt in talks with US firm for cold chain network

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Sonepat, Jan 20 (UNI) The government has said it was talking to the US-based food processing firm 'Dole Food Company Inc' to set up cold chain infrastructure for supplying processed food.

''We had talked to company representatives yesterday and the firm has shown enthusiasm for starting operations in the country in the backward integration segment,'' Minister of State for Food Processing Subodh Kant Sahai said here.

He added that five regions have been looked into for Dole and they would study the feasibilty report to zero down on a particular destination.

Dole's Worldwide Packaged Food Division already operates three canneries in Asia -- two in Thailand and one in the Philippines -- which supply North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and West Asia.

Dole sources bananas, fresh pineapples, asparagus, mangoes, papaya and other fruits and vegetables from the Philippines, Thailand and Ecuador, and transports them to markets principally in Asia, New Zealand and West Asia.

Dole is the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and fresh-cut flowers and markets a growing line of packaged and frozen foods.

Many international companies are eyeing the Indian sub-continent, as there is surplus raw material and the food processing sector is set to grow.

The Minister also informed that those companies who set up food processing units for exports will receive 10 per cent of it back, so that the amount can be used for importing technology.

Mr Sahai has also suggested setting up a sub-committee under the Indo-US Agriculture Knowledge Initiative for helping such initiatives.

He also said the Ministry would mobilise funds worth Rs one lakh crore in the next 3-4 years.

Mr Sahai said his Ministry is asking the status of infrastructure sector be given to the food processing segment.

The Minister is also calling for reduction in taxes on processed items and import of wines will also be looked into to promote the upcoming sector.

The government will give a subsidy of Rs 50 crore each for setting up 30 such parks, while an investment of Rs 400-450 crore needs to come from the private sector.

Mr Sahai said the US and European companies have evinced keen interest in coming to India in the field of horticulture, dairy and meat processing.

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