Modi unveils Mega Food Parks to empower farmers, boost ailing food sector

Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated 110-acre India Food Park in Tumkur, Karnataka on Wednesday. The park integrates the entire food value chain from farm to plate at a single location. This is the first integrated food park which has been developed with partnership from the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, and the State government. It is also a part of Future Consumer Enterprises Ltd.

What is the Scheme of Mega Food Park?

The Scheme of Mega Food Park aims at providing a mechanism to link agricultural production to the market by bringing together farmers, processors and retailers so as to ensure maximizing value addition, minimizing wastages, increasing farmers' income and creating employment opportunities particularly in rural sector.

As per the Ministry of Food and processing Industries, "The Mega Food Park Scheme is based on "Cluster" approach and envisages a well-defined agri/ horticultural-processing zone containing state-of-the art processing facilities with support infrastructure and well-established supply chain."

Ten more food parks in the offing

The Mega Food Park Scheme, initiated by the Central govt of India, aims to encourage public-private partnership in creating rural infrastructure in food processing sector.

The scheme, approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in September 2008, envisages setting up 10 mega foods parks in India i.e. Chittoor (Andhra Pradesh), Dharmapuri (Tamil Nadu), Mandya (Karnataka), Pune-Satara region (Maharashtra), Jangipur (West Bengal), Guwahati (northeast), Rae Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Hardwar (Uttarakhand) and Ludhiana-Jalandhar region (Punjab).

The scheme is under the Ministry of Food Processing Industries. The government will divide the stipulated Rs 500 Cr among the ten food parks.

For instance, Unity Infraprojects Ltd, Mumbai, is developing the mega food park near Jalandhar at a cost of around Rs 360 crore. The facility will be established on around 100 acres and will consist of 30-35 food processing units. 

How will these food parks help?

  • Reducing post harvest losses
  • Maintainance of the supply chain in sustainable manner
  • Additional income generation for the farmers
  • Shifting the farmers to more market driven and profitable farming activities.
  • It will be a one stop shop where everything will be available at a single location.
  • As per experts, it will directly employ 10,000 people. 
  • This integrated food park will help us reduce supply chain costs.
  • It will also reduce wastage across the food value chain in India and improve quality and hygiene to create food products in the country.

The approach of food parks:

The facility has been planned to have around 50 units for food processing and dedicated plants for the manufacture of Indian savories and snacks, frozen food products, chutneys, pasta, dry fruits and nuts, chocolates, and much more.

The Mega Food Park Scheme is based on cluster approach and are based on hub and spoke model. It aims at facilitating the establishment of a strong food processing industry backed by an efficient supply chain, which includes collection centres, central processing center (CPC) and cold chain infrastructure.

The scheme envisages one time capital grant of 50 per cent of the project cost (excluding land cost) subject to a maximum of Rs 50 crore in general areas, and 75 per cent of the project cost (excluding land cost) subject to a ceiling of Rs 50 crore, in difficult and hilly areas including north east region and J&K.

What will be the benefits of the food parks?

This will also bring employment, apart from good remunerative price to farming community.

Good project of food parks to enhance value of Agriculture sector of India. Poultry and fish production should also be encouraged at village level to increase income of poor farmers.

What has Modi said about these Food Parks?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated an 'Integrated Food Park' at Tumkur in Karnataka on Wednesday. While inaugurating the same he elaborated on how these food parks will be an help to the people and said the following:

"Farmers work to provide for us, but if they are not developed then where will they go? Therefore there needs to be value addition," Modi said.

"Mangoes if made into pickles get more revenue for the farmers. Farmers need to be taken to the global market," Modi said by way of example.

Modi stressed on the need for preventing wastage of food products. "Preventing wastage of food and agricultural commodities can help save up to Rs 40,000-crore per annum," Modi said. "We will encourage public-private partnership in food processing. I asked softdrink makers if 5 per cent fruit juice can be mixed in aerated drinks," he added.

Talkig about the need for better state-centre coordination, Modi said, "Centre and states should work together for nation's development. PM and CM may belong to any party, the nation is one. We all have to walk shoulder to shoulder." "When the states become stronger the nation will become stronger, when states progress the nation will progress," he emphasised.

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