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INTERVIEW

“Key differentiator is comprehensive infrastructure”
Monday, 31 August, 2015, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
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India Food Park Private Limited (IFPPL), part of Future Group, which capitalised on the ministry of food processing industries’ Mega Food Park Scheme, kicked off operations in September 2014 after prime minister Narendra Modi inaugurated it. Located at Sira taluk, Tumkur district, Karnataka, the park, which spans over 110 acre, is designed as a world-class food processing and cold storage unit.

Its key objective is to prevail over systemic gaps in agri-infrastructure development so as to facilitate better food processing in the area in which it is located. The primary catchment area is defined as all the districts in Karnataka that fall in the radius of approximately 200 km from IFPPL site. Monangi Srinivas Rao, CEO, India Food Park Pvt. Ltd, in an email interaction with Nandita Vijay, provides a peek in to the developments so far. Excerpts:

How receptive is the food and beverage industry to the India Food Park and how is it faring since its inception in the last one year?
The response has been very encouraging and lot of prospects from a wide spectrum of industries that have visited the site. Few MSMEs (micro-small-medium enterprises) have already taken space and are in the process of setting up their operations at the site. Some prospects are in advanced stages of discussions to finalise lease deals and the company hopes to rope them in before end of this calendar year. Apart from this, there is also good interest from many companies in the fruit and vegetable processing sector to utilise the facilities like pulping line, IQF (individual quick freezing,) line, ripening chambers, hi-care, storage areas covering cold/ freezer rooms etc.
 
Give us a snapshot of the services covering R&D, common processing centre among others that have taken off from here.
The facilities available at India Food Park, lend themselves to perishables and staples category in the food gamut. For perishables, we have created an integrated fruits and vegetables infrastructure, which provide facilities and machineries for grading, sorting, pulping, ripening, packing, cutting, dicing, freezing, storage covering chilled & frozen of all fruits & vegetables.

The frozen food facility like IQF & spiral freezer are also used by various food processing entrepreneurs.

For staples, we have created grain storage silos, raw material warehouse, and finished goods warehouse, packhouse for staples, spice mill, rice mill and flour mill. These facilities are available on lease to food processing entrepreneurs and lend themselves to over 100 food products at consumer level for both the domestic and export markets.

Currently multiple consumer brands are getting processed at the India Food Park. These are Veg Affaire: Frozen fruits and vegetables, Tasty Treat: Frozen snacks, Soo Fresh: Packed fruits and vegetables, Soo Fresh Mangoes: Graded, sorted, ripened, packed mangoes, Go Banana: Graded, sorted, ripened bananas, Ekta, premium harvest, fresh & pure, Golden Harvest: Branded staples covering grains, spices, dryfruit etc., Sangy’s Kitchen: Toppings & Sauces.

Further, the integrated system at the India Food Park has offered a conducive environment for R&D of products. Currently, products like French Fries, Smilies, Nuggets, Aloo Tikki, Breakfast Mixes and many more are being researched and trials are underway for this range.
 
What is the total manpower strength at the facility and are there plans to increase the personnel?
At its fully operational stage, the India Food Park will offer employment to 1,000 people either directly or indirectly. Currently, there are over 200 people employed at the park.

What are the likely future efforts to take place at this facility?
The core premise of setting up the India Food Park was and would continue to be to explore and continuously introduce new product categories emanating from the local raw material available in the vicinity of the facility. Projects like pasta, biscuit, chocolate, dryfruits processing are being looked at as potential options to come up in the India Food Park. On the infrastructure side, the park unceasingly is looking for ways to provide more facilities to the users and units within this complex. It is currently working on a plan to have a diesel station within the campus. We are also going forward to consider the establishment of a banking services facility at the site. A solar power plant is also being set up in the India Food Park to offer power backup to the users. The park also will offer handholding services for investors coming from other regions of the country and other countries to ensure smooth setup of their operations at the park.

Karnataka is already home to several food parks which are yet to succeed. Could you establish the key differences and the attributes to the developments so far ensuing from the India Food Park.

One of the key and unique differentiator of the project is the integrated and comprehensive manner in which the project has been conceptualised and being implemented. The association with one of largest food retailer’s  in the country which is the Future Group, also offers a very sound rationale to forward linkage which otherwise is so lacking in any other project that has come up. In addition to this, we have completed all the project components and ensured that all facilities are in place before we started marketing the park. We also take pride in the scale and quality of the infrastructure that has been set up including commencement of direct farmer connect. We believe in the fact that the entire India Food Park having been developed in one go would be a big attraction and will be an indication of our commitment. 

The entire  processing and storage infrastructure at the facility is aptly supported by amenities that India Food Park provides by way of power supply, treated water supply, sewage and effluent handling system, firefighting system and secured compound that provides agility, convenience and modularity to the food business.
 
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