Mega Food Park to come up in Himachal



Shimla: In order to display various processed food products, a Mega Food Park would be set up in the state soon. The matter is likely to be considered by union government in next finance year, the union government official disclosed here today.

Chairman of task force of ministry of food processing Sandeep Kumar disclosed this while addressing a function organised here today under the aegis of Indian Institute of Crop Processing Technology and Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India jointly with Shimla District Administration to create awareness and promote self employed new entrepreneurs in food processing sector. It highlighted the role and activities of Ministry of Food Processing Industries and Indian Institute of Crop Processing Technology.

Addressing the audience, He highlighted that India’s agricultural production base is strong, but at the same time wastage of agricultural produce is massive. Processing level is very low i.e. around 2.2 percent for fruits & vegetables compared to countries like USA (65 pc), Philippines (78 pc) and China (23 pc); 26 pc for marine, 6 pc for poultry and 20 pd for buffalo meat, as against 60-70 pc in developed countries. “The share of India’s export of processed food in global trade is only 1.5 pc at present. Even, within the country, share of fruits and vegetables processed is much less when compared to other agricultural products such as milk (35 pc) and marine products (26 pc).” he said

More importantly, the lack of processing and storage of fruits and vegetables results in huge wastage estimated at about 35 pc, the value of which is approximately Rs50, 000 crore annually. A developed food processing industry would not only reduce wastage, but would also increasingly fetch remunerative income to farmers, which is another problem before the agricultural sector at present. The food processing sector employs about 13 million people directly and about 35 million people indirectly. Food processing sector contributed over 14 pc of manufacturing GDP with a share of Rs280000 crore. Of this, the unorganized sector accounted for more than 70% of production in terms of volume and 50 pc in terms of value. The farmers and entrepreneurs were sensitized about the emerging technologies in food processing sector such as value addition, cleaning, grading and sorting of fruits and vegetables, drying and dehydration of agricultural products, processing of cereals and pulses, reduction of wastage in handling of agricultural and horticultural produce and utilization of crop residues, he added. Nearly 200 farmers and 100 entrepreneurs participated in this program.

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