LUDHIANA, MAY 16, 2018: Industry and Commerce Minister Sunder Sham Arora on Wednesday said that Punjab is serving as food bowl of the nation for decades but it would now set up new milestones in food processing sector in the upcoming years for which the state government led by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh will go beyond to make the state a favourite destination for food processing industry and a global leader in export of value-added Agri-produce.
The minister, who was here to inaugurate first of its kind Punjab Agri and Food Conclave held in partnership with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), told that three Mega Food Parks (Ladowal Food Park Ludhiana, Sukhjit Mega Food Park Phagwara, and International Mega Food Park Fazilka) are being established beside under the Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor, a high-tech manufacturing cluster at Ludhiana and an integrated manufacturing cluster at Rajpura will also be built.
Arora said Punjab government through its Industrial and Business Development Policy-2017 has embarked upon a new journey to provide a favorable environment for Industry and businesses in the state and invited businessmen to invest in food processing sector which has ample opportunities to grow and mentioned that World Bank has also given best ratings to Punjab for doing business.
He disclosed in last few months, 150 renowned business houses have invested worth Rs 7000 crore in Punjab in agro and food processing sector that includes ITC, Pepsi, Mahindra, Godrej, Cargill, Nerolac Reliance, and others.
The minister claimed for more development of food processing sector in Punjab, the government has provided several benefits for such industries in its new Industrial and Business Development Policy-2017.
On being quizzed, the minister said that anyone can avail the loans from Rs 5 to 25 lakh offered by banks for starting their businesses and if they face any issue, they can lodge the complaint with department and action would be taken accordingly. He also revealed to media that deputy commissioners have also been clearly clarified in this regard.
Further, he also exhorted the established business houses to come forward to uplift the living standards of the poor people under CSR activity.
Industry and Commerce department's principal secretary Rakesh Kumar Verma and director DPS Kharbanda spoke elaborately about the new industrial policy of the government.
On the occasion, 25 Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with various entrepreneurs worth Rs 70 crore were signed in the presence of Industry and Commerce minister Sunder Sham Arora.
Moreover, a MoU was also signed between the government and PAU during this conclave in which PAU will transfer the techniques to the food industry for the growth of food processing sector. PAU will offer 50 percent rate discount on its existing facilities for the food industry.
PAU Vice-Chancellor BS Dhillon, well-known businessmen Bhavdeep Sardana from The Sukhjit Starch & Chemicals Limited, Sanjay Singhal from ITC Limited, Akshay Bector from Cremica Food Industries Limited, Rinkesh Satija from PepsiCo India and Dr Sandeep Kapur from School of Business Studies, PAU also addressed the gathering in the conclave. Punjab Agro MD and Secretary Agriculture Vikas Garg was also present in this conclave.
The representatives from various food processing industries including NABI, Verka Ludhiana Dairy, Markfed, Punjab Agro Industries Corporation, Punjab Agro Juices limited and others also exhibited their products and the minister personally visited all the stalls.
LEADING INDUSTRIAL GIANTS GIVE THUMPS UP TO PUNJAB GOVERNMENT'S NEW INDUSTRIAL AND BUSINESS POLICY
Rating the new Industrial and Business Development Policy-2017 of Punjab government as excellent, the leading industrial giants in food processing sector said that the conducive environment and ease of business has become a reality in Punjab.
Elated from the policy, the Pepsico India and ITC Limited have announced to expand their operations in the state in the agro-food processing sector.
Rinkesh Satija from PepsiCo India told the Industry and Commerce Minister Sunder Sham Arora that it is going to invest in snacks business in the Punjab and more units will be coming up here.
He appreciated Punjab Government, its new business policy and holding first of its kind Punjab Agri and Food Conclave in partnership with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).
He suggested such conclaves should be held on a regular basis to give more attention to this sector.
Sanjay Singhal from ITC Limited told that the company has recently launched new juices products, biscuits and soon, it is going to invest in the dairy sector. He also suggested enhancing the production of fruits and vegetables in the state.
Bhavdeep Sardana from Sukhjit Starch & Chemicals Limited also hailed the effort of Punjab government and revealed they are setting up a Mega Food Park in Phagwara and urged the minister to increase maize production in the state rather than rice and wheat.
Akshay Bector of Cremica Food Industries Limited added that apart from new business policy, the abolishment of the truck unions by the state government is one of welcoming step. He also welcomed the holding of Agri and Food Conclave.
Later, Industry and Commerce Minister Sunder Sham Arora said that during 2016-17 agriculture and allied activities contributed 27.38% to the state GDP. Further, with total cultivable area of 4.2 million hectares, Punjab constitutes only 3% of the net area sown in the country and this small area produces 19% of wheat, 10% of rice, 10% of milk, 20% of honey, 48% of mushroom & 5% of cotton in the country, he added.
He told that as the state strives to become a destination for food processing industry and a global leader in the export of value-added Agri-produce, this conclave would serve as a platform to deliberate on new drivers of growth including Agro marketing reforms, development of agri-infrastructure, mega food parks in Punjab.
Later in afternoon, a session was organized on opportunities and challenges in food sector which focused majorly on problems being faced by the industry in this sector and speakers dwelled on how state can provide project development support to the private sector entrepreneurs in leveraging assistance available under various schemes like Cold Chain, Kisan Sampada Yojna, Agro Clusters and others. The final session was focused on developing linkages in the food chain.