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Punjab - Potential location for setting up of food parks
Tuesday, 18 August, 2015, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
K Halder, N Kumar and P S Minz
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Approximately 70% population of the country belongs to the rural areas. To uplift the present economical status of those rural areas, the inclusive concept of Mega Food Park has been proposed to establish direct linkages from the farm to processing and on to the consumer markets, through a network of field level collection centres and Primary Processing Centres.
Primary Processing Centres will be well collected with the field level Collection Centres and Central Processing Centre by modern efficient logistic facilities. Primary Processing Centres will be acting as main aggregation and handling point for the various food commodities from the village level collection centres and will maintain constant supply of those to the Central Processing Centre. Central Processing Centre will be considered as nuclei of all activities especially for value addition and supply of products to the respective markets as per demand.  




The field level collection centres are the primary nodes for the Mega Food Park network, which will be used as aggregation points for adjoining areas within a radius of about 10 km and these will be managed by the local entrepreneurs like groups of farmers, self-help groups or individual farmers. Farmers or the local entrepreneurs will get direct access to the markets and it is expected to have a strong linkage between the farmers and markets which will accelerate to set up a strong rural economy within a very short time.


The Primary Processing Centres will be situated in close proximity with the few (5-10) numbers of field level Collection Centres which will be the first point of contact with the growers. The Primary Processing Centres will provide facilities for storage, sorting, grading, cleaning etc. Some of the PPCs may also house facilities for carrying out primary processing like pulping and juicing. Each Primary Processing Centre will also have transportation facilities like refrigerated vans, trucks etc. for transportation of goods from the collection centres and to the Central Processing Centre. Storage facilities will include all weather warehouses and cold storage / modified temperature storages wherever required.

The Central Processing Centres or Central Processing Unit is an industrial park for food commodities and land requirement for this will be around 50-100 acre. This will house a number of different food processing units owned by different business houses. Developed plots of land will be provided to the large- and mid-sized units while Common Design Factory Sheds will be provided to small-scale units. The park will provide common facilities such as water, electricity and effluent treatment apart from specialised facilities like cold storage, warehousing, logistics and backward integration through the network of 10-12 Primary Processing Centres and Collection Centres.

The main objective of the Mega Food Park Scheme is to setup strong linkage between farms and markets by providing excellent modern facilities to food processing for value addition as well as excellent facilities to the supply value chain. The scheme was originally launched as the 2008 Food Parks Scheme (FPS). The objective of this scheme was to raise the processing of perishables in the country and increase value addition. Further, objective was to increase the share of India in the global food trade.

The expected outcome is increased realisation for farmers, creation of high quality rural processing infrastructure, reduction in wastage, capacity building of the producers processors and creation of an efficient supply chain along with significant direct, indirect employment generation. It is expected that on an average, each project will have around 30-35 food processing units with a collective investment of Rs 250 crore that would eventually lead to annual turnover of about Rs 450-500 crore and creation of direct and indirect employment to the extent of about 30,000. However, the actual configuration of the project may vary depending upon the business plan for each Mega Food Park.

The MFPS scheme envisages a onetime capital grant of 50% of the project cost (excluding land cost) subject to a maximum of Rs 50 crore in general areas and 75% the project cost (excluding land cost) subject to a ceiling of Rs 50 crore in difficult and hilly areas i.e. North East Region including Sikkim, J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and ITDP notified areas of the states.

The history of Mega Food Parks in India
It was on July 10, 2012, when India’s first Mega Food Park — Srini Food Park, was inaugurated by the then Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar at Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh – the largest fruits and vegetables cluster in India. On par with software parks, this new-age facility in a sprawling 147-acre space has been equipped with modular cold storage, advanced testing laboratories, state-of-the-art facility for pulping, bottling, Tetrapaking, and warehousing facilities. It offered supply chain infrastructure, cluster farming backed by field collection centre, self-help groups and individual farmers. Today it has emerged as an ideal destination for food processing units. Even the Mega Food Park at Tumkur that prime minister Narendra Modi inaugurated is spread across 110 acre. With 22,000 tonne storage capacity, 30 food processing companies are expected to generate 4,000 jobs besides benefiting farmers from the adjoining districts of Kolar, Shimoga and Tumkur, which are rich in vegetables, fruits, millets, and oilseeds.

Punjab's Mega Food Park
Punjab is among the four states, which have been termed as potential location for setting up a park by the ministry of food processing industries (MoFPI). Three Mega Food Parks have been approved by MoFPI in the state, which is being implemented by International Mega Food Park Limited in district Fazilka, The Sukhjit Starch & Chemicals Limited in district Kapurthala and Punjab Agro Industries Corporation in district Ludhiana.


Punjab's first Mega Food Park
Punjab's first mega food park (MFP), which involves capital infusion of up to Rs 150 crore, is developed at Fazilka in Ferozepur district by a consortium led by agro unit International Fresh Farm Products. MoFPI has awarded this Mega Food Park project to International Fresh Farm Products Limited for its development, which involves an investment of Rs 130 crore to 150 crore.
The park was inaugurated by Badal on December 13, 2014. Initially the capital outlay of Rs 136 crore was involved in setting up the park. It is spread over 55 acres of land. Few companies like Bector's Food (Cremica Group), Brattle Foods and International Farm Fresh have shown their interest in this and later on corporate houses like ITC have shown interest to come up with a Rs 1,000 crore food park in Kapurthala. It has been reported that the food processing segment was growing at 8.6 per cent against industrial growth rate of 6 per cent and agriculture growth of 3 per cent. However, much more is needed to be done as we are only processing 10 per cent of our food produce. This lack of processing is resulting in food wastage of 6 to 18 per cent which is calculated at Rs 45,000 crore, equal to the total food consumed by England as reported.
Diversification of process and products would become a reality with creation of more food parks in the area including the one coming up in Kapurthala. Farmers could earn as much as Rs 1 to 1.5 lakh by supplying their produce to various food parks. International Mega Food Park Ltd (IMFPL) at Dabwala Kalan District Fazilka has a multidimensional food processing infrastructure facility. The project is being spread over 56 acre of land at Dabwala Kalan close to the State Highway connecting Malout to Fazilka. The site is connected with the towns of Fazilka, Abohar, Malout, Muktsar, Jalalabad and is about 20-30 km from all these places. Bathinda - an upcoming major town of Punjab, having good rail and air connectivity with Delhi is just 70 km from IMFPL location. They have few ongoing projects in hand related to industrial development in this area and have excellent facilities for marketing consultancy, quality assurance and testing and few common facilities for SMEs.
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More Mega Food Parks for Punjab
Badal has sanctioned 17 such new Mega Food Parks in 11 states, including Punjab and Haryana, taking the total number of such projects across the country to 42. The new parks were likely to attract investment of around Rs 2,000 crore in modern infrastructure, besides additional collective investment of around Rs 4,000 crore in 500 food processing units in the parks and an annual turnover of Rs 8,000 crore. It is reported that the parks, when fully functional, would create employment for about 80,000 persons and benefit 5 lakh farmers directly or indirectly. The projects sanctioned for Punjab are one of state owned Punjab Agro Industries Corporation (PAIC) Ltd in Ladhowal, Ludhiana, at the cost of Rs 136 crore, and a private venture, Sukjhit Starch & Chemical Limited, costing Rs 128.28 crore at Kapurthala. This Food Park at Kapurthala, operated by ITC, is an Integrated Foods Manufacturing-cum-Logistics Facility. This facility will aid in meeting current and future market requirements. It is located between Modern Jail & Kapurthala Township.
It has been reported that five collection centres would be set up at Muskabad village (Samrala), Saholi (Nabha), Kangmai (Hoshiarpur), Lalgarh (Samana), and Babri village (Gurdaspur). The government is also in the process of identifying five more such centres to develop world-class fruit and vegetable clusters. Fetching big investments in food processing industries was one of the top priorities and the state had launched its agro industrial and food processing policy to provide incentives to the entrepreneurs. The proposed food parks can be seen as a game changer in agriculture and food processing sectors units processing frozen fruits and vegetables, frozen french fries, milk, maize, bakery products, wheat pasta, tomato, chillies, snack foods, eggs, malt, honey and haldi would be set up in future.
Conclusion
The Mega Food Park concept of the government is an excellent way to bring pace in growth of rural agrarian economy of Punjab as well as India by providing modern infrastructure for value addition, waste control during processing and loss control during supply of products. It is expected that the concept of establishing direct linkages from the farm to processing and on to the consumer markets will help to create huge job opportunities in the sector and will stabilise prices of food products.

References
* K. Halder  and N.Kumar are Assistant Professors at Department of Food Engineering, National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM), Plot No. 97, Sector-56, HSIIDC Industrial Estate Kundli, Sonepat,Haryana-131 028
P.S. Minz scientist at Dairy Engineering Division, National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), Karnal.

(The authors may be reached at kumar.halder@gmail.com)
 
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