BHUBANESWAR: The State Government has sought more funds from the Centre under the National Mission for Food Processing (NMFP) as it has identified food processing as a key driver of entrepreneurship and employment generation.
Odisha, the only State in the country to have utilised entire fund sanctioned under the programme, has sought Rs.20 crore more during the current fiscal. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is set to take up the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The State Government has already utilised Rs.10 crore allotted to it under NMFP. Chief Secretary has placed a request with the Union Ministry of Food Processing but no definite assurance on increasing allocations has been given.
Food processing industry is in nascent stage in Odisha with only one per cent of its agriculture produce being used for value addition against the national average of six per cent. The State, though, has drawn up an ambitious target to raise food processing to 25 per cent by 2025 as envisioned in the national policy.
“A special vision document is being drafted for the purpose and the Government is providing focused incentives for food processing industries. There is a need for shaping the culture of ‘Make in Odisha’ with food processing sector as a major player,” Secretary in MSME Department Panchanan Das said.
Das said there were around 60 units promoted under NMFP in the State. Capital investment subsidies had already been provided to 25 units that have started operation while 35 are in the pipeline. The Government has sought to shift from traditional food processing industries like rice milling and cashew units to make value addition of perishable agriculture produce its focus area for interventions.
“We are encouraging diverse and innovative units to give a boost to food processing and exploit the vast potential in the sector. Processing units have already been set up for unique produce such as tamarind and poultry meat value addition,” Das told mediapersons on the second day of Odisha MSME Trade Fair-2015 here.
A workshop-cum-investors’ meet on food processing was held on Friday with more than 250 entrepreneurs, prospective entrepreneurs, Government agencies, policy experts, manufacturers and industry bodies, bankers and marketing agencies taking part.
Around 20 manufacturers of food processing equipment and 52 units are showcasing their products.