30 Food Parks to be set up in the country: Subodh Kant Sahai

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Hardwar, Jan 21 (UNI) Thirty food parks would be set up in the country to promote industry based agriculture and food processing, Union Minister of State for Food Processing, Subodh Kant Sahai said today.

Speaking on the inaugural function of Swami Ram Dev's Ayurvedic Food and Herbs Ltd here, the minister said 80 per cent of agriculture products were processed in the US, where only four per cent of its population depends on agriculture. Whereas, in India where 70 per cent of population depended on agriculture just two per cent of agriculture products gets processed.

He said now the focus of the government would be on food processing and the year 2008 would be celebrated as the 'Food Processing Year'.

The minister said it was only industry friendly agriculture which could usher in the era of prosperity for the farmers.

He further said that out of 30 food parks, which were being set up in the country on the pattern of IT parks, one park would be set up in Uttarakhand. The total investment on one food park would be about Rs 200 crores out of which the grant of Rs 50 crores would be provided by the Central government to any entrepreneur.

Responding to the demand of conferring Bharat Ratna on Swami Ram Devmade by Swami Hans Das, the general secretary of the All India Sant Samiti, Mr Sahai said he supported the demand as recognition of the services rendered by Swami Ram Dev in the field of Yoga and Ayurveda.

The minister also requested Swami Ram Dev to become the Agriculture Ambassador of the country.

Adding a third dimension to his campaign for Yoga and Ayurveda, Swami Ram Dev said on the occasion that his Patanjali Yog Peeth would undertake in a big way the manufacturing of agriculture products based drugs, tonics and juices. It would help the farmers in getting remunerative prices of their products and remove poverty and misery from the villages.

UNI XC DS RN1659

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