Mega Food Park Inaugurated at Nalbari, Assam

A Mega Food Park was inaugurated at Nalbari, Assam recently by the Chief Minister of Assam. It Park has been set up in 50 acre of land at the cost of Rs. 76 crore.This project is having facilities of fully operational industrial sheds for SMEs, developed industrial plots for lease to food processing units, Dry Warehouse of 10000 MT, Cold Storages of 3000 MT, Common Effluent Treatment plant, Quality Control Labs etc.

  • The Park also has a common administrative building for office and other uses by the entrepreneurs.
  • 6 Primary Processing Centres (PPCs) are also proposed to be set up at Nagaon, Badarpur, Tinsukia, Barapani, Krishnai and Kajalgaon which will provide facilities for primary processing and storage near the farms.

Mega Food Parks Scheme:

The Scheme of Mega Food Park aims at providing a mechanism to link agricultural production to the market by bringing together farmers, processors and retailers so as to ensure maximizing value addition, minimizing wastages, increasing farmers’ income and creating employment opportunities particularly in rural sector.

Aim of the Scheme: The Scheme is aimed at providing modern infrastructure facilities along the value chain from farm gate to the market with strong backward and forward linkages.

What these food parks provide?

  • They facilitate the efforts to increase the level of processing of agricultural and horticultural produce, with particular focus on perishables, in the country and thereby to check the wastage.
  • The Scheme has a cluster based approach based on a hub and spokes model. It includes creation of infrastructure for primary processing and storage near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centres (PPCs) and Collection Centres (CCs) and common facilities and enabling infrastructure at Central Processing Centre (CPC).
  • The PPCs are meant for functioning as a link between the producers and processors for supply of raw material to the Central Processing Centres.
  • CPC has need based core processing facilities and basic enabling infrastructure to be used by the food processing units setup at the CPC. The minimum area required for a CPC is 50 acres.
  • The scheme is demand-driven and would facilitate food processing units to meet environmental, safety and social standards.

Implementation and financial assistance:

  • Mega Food Park project is implemented by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which is a Body Corporate registered under the Companies Act. State Government/State Government entities/Cooperatives applying for setting up a project under the scheme are not required to form a separate SPV.
  • The financial assistance for Mega Food Park is provided in the form of grant-in-aid at 50% of eligible project cost in general areas and at 75% of eligible project cost in NE Region and difficult areas (Hilly States and ITDP areas) subject to maximum of Rs. 50 crore per project.

Benefits:

  • Reducing post harvest losses.
  • Maintainance of the supply chain in sustainable manner.
  • Additional income generation for the farmers.
  • Shifting the farmers to more market driven and profitable farming activities.
  • It will be a one stop shop where everything will be available at a single location.
  • As per experts, it will directly employ 10,000 people.
  • This integrated food park will help reduce supply chain costs.
  • It will also reduce wastage across the food value chain in India and improve quality and hygiene to create food products in the country.

Difficulties in implementation:

  • Major challenges being faced by the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) in implementation of the Mega Food Park projects, include acquiring contiguous land of 50 acres or more in the name of SPV, obtaining term loan from the Banks, difficulties in obtaining various statutory clearances from the State Government Departments/Agencies, timely contribution of equity by the promoters, lack of cohesiveness amongst the promoters etc.

Sources: PIB, The Hindu.

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