Integrated cold chain projects critical to fast track Indian agriculture & economy

Govt is looking at mapping of areas of fruits and vegetables and other perishable production in different States with the target to set up agro-processing clusters

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New Delhi: Minister of Food Processing Industries, Mrs Harsimrat Kaur Badal held an interaction with promoters of newly-allotted Integrated Cold Chain Projects recently in New Delhi. Addressing them, the Minister emphasized the need to set up Integrated Cold Chain Projects on war scale in the country for all-round development of India and for fast-tracking transformation of the Indian economy.

Mrs Badal said given the challenge of post-harvest losses which currently are Rs.92,000 crores annually, the facilities set up by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries like 42 Mega Food Parks and 234 Cold Chain Projects (including 101 newly sanctioned Cold Chain Projects) have created preserving and processing capacity of 139 lakh Metric Tonnes of Agro Produce with a value of Rs.35,000 crores which means that setting up of these Cold Chain Projects and Mega Food Parks already undertaken would reduce post harvest losses substantially. She said apart from reducing wastage, the projects will generate employment for 3.5 lakh persons and benefit 15 lakh farmers.

The Minister also informed about the steps being taken by the Ministry to build a strong, efficient and integrated supply chain for agri-produce involving backward linkages with the farm, processing to add value to the farmer’s produce and creation of forward linkages through organised modern retail.

Formulation and implementation of a National Food Processing Policy is also under consideration of the Ministry. The vision of the Policy is to position India as a World Food Factory by creating an enabling framework for the sustainable growth of the food processing industry. The Policy is based on the principle of inclusive growth in partnership with the States with the overarching goal of providing remunerative return to farmers. The model Food Processing Policy focuses development of clusters based on production strength of different region to enable a targeted and coordinated approach for developing the food processing industry and bringing down wastages. As a step in this direction, the Ministry proposes to undertake mapping of areas of fruits and vegetables and other perishable production in different States with the target to set up agro processing clusters.

To achieve the vision of National Food Processing Policy, the Ministry will be shortly launching a revamped National Mission on Food Processing called SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Produce Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) to complete theon-going Mega Food Parks, take up more cold chain and also to launch 3 new schemes – Creation/Expansion of Food Processing and Preservation Capacities, New Agro-Processing Clusters and Backward and Forward Linkages.

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