Source: The Economic Times, Apr 11, 2017
NEW DELHI: The food processing industries ministry plans to soon launch a Rs 6,000-crore scheme, Sampada, for agro-marine produce processing and development of agro-processing clusters, with an aim to reduce food wastage and ensure farmers get remunerative prices.
The scheme will integrate current and new schemes from mega food parks to cold chain projects and introduce three new schemes – creation or expansion of food processing and preservation capacities, new agro-processing clusters, and backward and forward linkages.
Food processing industries minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal announced this on Tuesday on the sidelines of an interaction with promoters of newly-allotted 101 integrated cold chain projects.
“We will approach the Cabinet for the approval of’ the Sampada scheme in the next two weeks,” the minister said.
The outlay of Rs 6,000 crore will be spent over the next five years, she said.
“We will be mapping food clusters, agriculture hubs and infrastructure facilities from labs to cold chains in the country. Under the new scheme, we will provide up to Rs 10 crore of subsidy grant or 35% subsidy, whichever is lower, for creating infrastructure at each of these clusters so that seamless transfer of food products from producing to consuming centres becomes a reality,” said Badal.
The subsidy quotient may increase to 50% in difficult areas from Jammu and Kashmir to states in the Northeast.
The Centre has so far sanctioned 42 mega food parks and 234 cold chain projects with 139 lakh tonnes of preserving and processing capacity of agricultural produce worth Rs 35,000 crore.
Badal said that as per a study done by the ministry, the post-harvest losses are estimated at Rs 92,000 crore annually. “Setting up of these cold chain projects and mega food parks already undertaken will reduce post-harvest losses substantially,” she said, adding that apart from reducing wastage, the projects will generate employment for 3.5 lakh persons and benefit 15 lakh farmers.