The Agriculture Policy-2013 will mark a watershed in the agri-horticulture development while driving the food processing sector in the State, Minister for MSME Damodar Rout said here on Thursday.
With the State having huge potential for development of horticulture and food processing industries by virtue of its strategic geographic location and agri-climatic diversity, the policy seeks to incentivise farmers in these sectors.
The food processing park to be set up at Huma at a cost of ` 116 crore will benefit nearly one lakh farmers and fishermen of over 12 districts. While augmenting irrigation and micro-irrigation projects, the farmers would be provided with storage facilities at important market centres.
Agri-export zones would be established through PPP mode for exportable agricultural and horticultural produce while a comprehensive network of cold storages would be created, Rout said at the Horticulture and Food Processing Conclave 2013 organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) here on Thursday.
Agriculture Minister Debi Prasad Mishra said the policy marked a radical shift from subsistence agriculture to commercial agriculture.
The State Government is stressing on a multi-pronged approach for productivity augmentation through provisioning of high-yield seed varieties, farm mechanisation, integrated pest management, the timely disbursal of credit and crop insurance. The ICC, on its part, has urged the Government to take target-based steps for developing the food processing sector on priority.
It should grab a market share in Indian food processing sector that is expected to grow to $ 280 billion by 2015 and generate additional employment for over 8.2 million people.
A well developed food processing industry will substantially increase farm gate prices, reduce wastages, ensure value addition, promote crop diversification, generate employment and the bolster exports, Director General, ICC, Rajeev Singh said. He called upon the Government to encourage food processing clusters at the village level through SHGs and also take steps to create a pool of trained manpower, which is lacking in the State.