PALAKKAD: Union Minister for Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Sunday said the Centre has set apart Rs 6,000 crore under the Kisan SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro Marine Processing and Development of Agro processing clusters ) for the next five years which will provide grants and subsidies to entrepreneurs willing to set up agro-based food industries.
Harsimrat was delivering the presidential address at the foundation stone laying ceremony for Kinfra mega food park at the Kinfra integrated industrial park at Kanjikode.
There are three types of assistance being made available to entrepreneurs-- Unit scheme for those setting up food processing units who will be eligible for Rs 5 crore grant; Cluster scheme where a minimum of five units can receive a Rs 10 crore grant and Backward and Forward linkage scheme for setting up processing units providing value-addition which enable backward and forward linkage to get Rs 5 crore subsidy, the Union Minister said.Though India is the world’s largest milk producer and occupied the second and third spot in the production of cereals, fruits, vegetables and marine production,respectively only 10 per cent of the domestic production is processed and provided value addition.
Even small countries like Thailand and Malaysia provided more value addition to their produce than India. The Centre proposed to double the income of farmers by 2022, Harsimrat said.A total of 17 new mega food parks were being set up in India under the Make in India programme, of which two were in Kerala. The one in Kanjikode was in partnership with Kinfra and the one in Cherthala is a joint venture(JV) with the Kerala State Industries Development Corporation (KSIDC).
“The mega food parks will follow the hub and spoke model. Since the setting up of food processing industries is capital-intensive and the production is seasonal, individuals are unable to set up such units. It is in this background the clusters are formed with common facilities. The Kanjikode park will have facilities for collection, processing, storing, pulping, grading, sorting and packing. There will be four primary processing centres at Ernakulam, Thrissur, Malappuram and Wayanad which will function as the spokes,” said Harsimrat.
There will be facilities to process 10 metric tonnes of spice, warehouse to store 12,000 metric tonnes, silos for 6,000 metric tonnes, mechanical driers, facilities for cashew roasting and multi-product cold storage facilities, said Harsimrat.The mega food park will eventually have a Rs 500 crore turnover and generate employment for 5,000 youths. It will also benefit 25,000 farmers. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who along with the Union Minister, performed the foundation stone laying ceremony, said the fall in rubber, coconut and pepper prices has severely affected the state’s farmers.
The draft industrial policy of the LDF Government is ready and the government will provide all facilities to industrialists interested in setting up industries in Kerala. Schemes like Haritha Keralam Mission are aimed at attracting youth to agriculture. The work on the food park will be completed by May 2018 as per schedule.