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SHILLONG: The Cenre has asked the State to utilise benefits of the food processing schemes as well as encourage FDI in this sector.
Speaking at the ‘Cold Chain Summit-North Eastern Region, 2016’ organised by ASSOCHAM in the city on Tuesday, special secretary in the Ministry of Food Processing Industries J.P Meena said while Mizoram, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland have some proposals for cold chain or food parks Meghalaya so far has not been able to take up any big project and this is the reason why the Ministry has intensified its awareness programmes in the State.
The last date for submitting a proposal for a mega food park is October 7 and for cold chains is October 17. Meena said the Ministry is trying to create processing and preservation facilities in the North East as the region, which has huge product base, lacks infrastructure for post-harvesting management.
“The Northeastern states, including Meghalaya, can take advantage of the mega food park scheme under which the Centre is providing grant up to 75 per cent of the total project cost. There is also a scheme for creating small processing clusters for which only 10 acres of land is required,” the special secretary said.
Commenting on the State’s move to go for organic farming, he said Meghalaya “will have to spend lot of money if it wants to be as successful as Sikkim and the State government has to take care of the market aspect from the beginning if it wants to be a successful organic state”. Later, Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti called for introduction of foreign direct investment for the benefit of farmers and the agriculture sector in the North East.
Stating that the NDA government at the Centre has initiated several projects in the region, she stressed on the need to set up more processing units so that agricultural produce is not spoiled. “The Centre wants to create a situation in the country where the produce of farmers should be processed here and later exported to different countries,” she said.
When asked about BJP’s opposition to FDI in the past, the Sadhvi said, “We don’t want foreign companies to come here and take all our resources and money away.”
Rajya Sabha MP from Shillong Wansuk Syiem also spoke on the occasion and urged the State Government to take advantage of all the schemes.
P.W Ingty, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Commerce and Industries, said Meghalaya is a hub of various agricultural products and it has the potential to be a food hub.
Rs 92,000 crore loss for want of logistics
Horticulture products worth Rs 92,000 crore go to waste in India every year due to lack of proper storage facilities.
Informing this here on Tuesday, special secretary in the Ministry of Food Processing Industries J.P Meena said a study conducted by ICAR revealed that lack of proper storage, post harvesting management and transport facilities leads to wastage of horticulture products worth Rs 92,000 crore.
According to Meena, the Ministry is trying to create necessary infrastructure to minimize the loss. “We expect to reduce the loss by up to 50 per cent in the next 10 years,” he added.