Mega Food Parks Scheme expected to attract Rs 7000 crore investment

Mega Food Parks Scheme expected to attract Rs 7000 crore investment
The Mega Food Park scheme launched by the govt. has received good response with 13 Mega Food Parks being under various stages of implementation. Out of these, 7 food parks located in Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal (2), Assam and Tripura are at an advanced stage of completion and expected to be operational soon. Delivering the key note address at the ‘National Summit on Mega Food Parks : An Investment Destination” in Mumbai today, Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India Rakesh Kacker said, the Government has given approval for 30 Mega Food Parks across the country. He said the investment in food processing industry is set to grow with the decentralization of the approval process. As per the National Food Processing Mission launched on April 1, 2012, project assessment can be sanctioned by the state government itself. Further, 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is permitted in the food processing sector.
Mr. Kacker said the government has accorded food processing industry the status of a sunrise sector and initiated several policy measures for creation of infrastructure, cold chain development, technology up gradation and sanctioned various schemes for modernization, besides the Mega Food Park scheme, which is expected to see a combined investment of about Rs 7000 crores over 30 centres. He said the allocation for food processing industry will go up in coming years, from the present level of Rs 660 crores during the current fiscal.
The Mega Food Park Scheme is envisaged to be set up on the hub and spoke pattern. The core processing facilities would be located in a central area with processing plants spread over peripheral areas. Ideally one mega food park would serve a cluster of about 3 -4 districts. The central processing centre would have dry warehouses, cold chain infrastructure, irradiation centre and facilities for sorting , grading and packaging.
The Scheme also provides for creation of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) for the establishment of Mega Food Parks. Three or more stake holders like- infrastructure developers, food processors, banks and financial institutions or even farmers’ organizations, can join hands to set up SPVs. The financial assistance from the Government will be in the form of one time capital grant of 50% of the project cost, excluding land cost, in general areas and 75% of the project cost in hilly and difficult areas, subject to a maximum limit of Rs 50 crores.
The Mega Food Park project is expected to bring large scale benefits to farmers as well as consumers, by addressing key infrastructure and supply-chain management challenges. Presently in India, post harvest losses range from 4-6% for cereals to as high as 18% for fruits & vegetables.
Speaking at the Summit, S.K. Goel, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture& Marketing, Government of Maharashtra said , there is tremendous scope for public- private partnership in the food processing sector. He said, there are at least 7 central schemes including the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and the National Horticultural Mission(NHM) which can take care of most of the backend linkages. The front end linkages of production and marketing would be the responsibility of private players.
Calling attention to the challenges faced by the food processing industry, FICCI stressed on the need for a stable export policy saying frequent banning of particular commodities adversely affected feasibility of projects . It said the government should consider tariff based policy interventions instead of resorting to quantitative restrictions. FICCI also welcomed FDI in retail and said it will be a catalyst to boost investments in the food processing sector.
The National Summit was jointly organized by the industry association FICCI and the Ministry of Food Processing Industries. It was attended by policy makers, industry members and experts on food processing.