Govt to create efficient farm produce supply chain for food processing: minister

The government is focused on creating sufficient infrastructure and an efficient supply chains, including cold storages, to link farmers seamlessly with the market, minister for food processing industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal said on Monday.

A quick and efficient supply chain for farm produce is important for the producer and the consumer and is key to the development of food processing industries, she said, adding that the ministry has decided to encourage private investment in cold chain infrastructure.

Sanctioning of 17 new mega food parks and 30 cold chain projects will attract total investment of about Rs3,077 crore in the creation of infrastructure in food processing sector, she said at a press conference to highlight one year's achievement of her ministry.

India is the third-largest food producer in the world, yet barely 2.2 per cent of fruits and vegetables are processed. At the same time a major portion of the perishable agricultural produce is wasted, leading to huge losses for farmers, the minister pointed put.

Development of food processing industries would give a big boost to agriculture sector, leading to exponential growth in farm production, Badal said, adding that her ministry's motto is to make food processing the engine of growth in the agriculture sector.

Addressing a press conference to highlight one year's achievements of the ministry of food processing industries , Harsimrat Kaur Badal stated that the creation of an efficient supply chain will effectively address the challenges of insufficient infrastructure leading to huge wastage and undue advantage to middlemen at the cost of farmers.

The minister further said under the scheme of cold chain, value addition and preservation infrastructure, entrepreneurs are provided financial assistance of up to Rs10crore.

A total of 138 integrated cold chain projects were approved by the government, out of which 108 projects are under the implementation.

Of these, 52 projects have already achieved completion and commenced commercial operation.

The capacity created by these 52 projects is 2.16 lakh tonnes of cold storage/CA/deep freezer, 80.3 lakh litres per day of milk processing, 38.5 tonnes/ hour of individual quick freeze and 271 reefer carriers.

The operationalization of 108 projects would create capacity of 3.64 lakh tonnes of cold storage, controlled atmosphere (C A) /modified atmosphere (MA) storage, deep freezer  - 90 tonnes per hour of individual quick freezing (IQF), 106.95 lakh litres per day of milk processing and storage and 601 reefer carriers.