Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu in a meeting on Thursday morning took a detailed status report on the implementation of the Mega Food Park scheme and the project site at Dolikoto village, near Banderdewa in Papum Pare district.
Present with him were chief secretary Naresh Kumar and officials of the departments of planning, industries, agriculture and horticulture.
The Scheme of Mega Food Park of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana of the Union ministry of food processing industries (MoFPI) aims at providing a mechanism to link agricultural production to the market by bringing together farmers, processors and retailers so as to ensure maximising value addition, minimising wastage, increasing farmers’ income and creating employment opportunities particularly in rural sector.
It is based on “cluster” approach and envisages creation of state of art support infrastructure in a well-defined agri/horticultural zone for setting up of modern food processing units in the industrial plots provided in the park with well-established supply chain. Mega Food Park typically consists of supply chain infrastructure including collection centers, primary processing centres, central processing centres, cold chain and around 25-30 fully developed plots for entrepreneurs to set up food processing units.
It may be noted that the scheme was sanctioned for Arunachal Pradesh with due persuasion of the chief minister on September 13, 2019 by the Union ministry.
The Mega Food Park is coming up at Dolikota village near Itanagar along the boundary with Assam. Up to 75 acres of land has been procured for the project of which 50 acres have been provided for food industries. The project promoter is in the process of developing the site and construction of internal infrastructure as per DPR of the Union ministry. The state government is providing the basic facilities such as road connectivity, water and power supply.
The Food Park, coming up at an estimated cost of Rs 159 crore, would have facilities such as pet bottle line, warehouse, multi-chamber cold storage, tetra-packaging line, ripening chamber, food testing laboratory, automated sorting-grading line, canning line, weighing line besides other infrastructure like administrative building, commercial complex, power station, staff quarters, etc.
It is envisaged that the Food Park will bring huge investment in multi-sectoral food industries by attracting industrialists globally for setting up new ventures, which would generate employment and provide market to farmers of the state.
The park has earmarked 27 units of food industries that would be open for grabs by industrialists and entrepreneurs. For a project cost of Rs 10 crore, MoFPI will provide a grant of Rs 5 crore to entrepreneurs setting up food industries in the Food park, which amounts to Rs 270 crores of investment in the state.
The chief minister expressed satisfaction to note that so far the Food Park has received Letters of Interest from 12 entrepreneurs for setting up food industries in it. Of these while nine are local entrepreneurs, three are multi-national companies. The total investment they would make in the Park stands at Rs 16.7 crores.
“This is a good sign. We need to advertise and sell the feasibility of our Park so that many more local and multi-national companies set up industries here. Our farmers would hugely benefit from such food industries,” Khandu observed.
While assuring to complete the responsibilities of the state government like providing road, water and power at the earliest, Khandu urged the promoter to expedite the ground work at the site.
He also suggested the departments of agriculture and horticulture to study the feasibility of produces that can be harvested in the state region-wise vis-à-vis their market demands and prices.
As suggested by the promoter, Khandu called for focusing on produces like guava (Lalit), pineapple and lemon, which currently have huge demands in the food processing industries.
He said the state government would strengthen backward linkages by providing assistance to farmers in producing raw materials required by the Food Park. Also the state government will provide best quality saplings to local farmers on subsidized rates to promote backward linkages.
Components of the scheme also include two Primary Processing Centres – one at Bhalikpong in West Kameng district and other at Yachuli in Lower Subansiri.
Also present in the meeting were Likha Maj, the promoter and representatives of banks and other officials.