Food processing is an industry that has immense potential in the northeastern states but has not been explored to its optimum yet, said Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries, Rameswar Teli, on September 3rd, 2019.
To give a fillip to the industry, the Union Minister said that his ministry is planning to establish a Food Technology Institute in Assam so that youths of the region can qualify as food technology professionals.
Speaking at the inaugural function of a Workshop on Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana (PMKSY) in Itanagar at State Banquet Hall, Teli, who represents Dibrugarh Parliamentary constituency in the Parliament, expressed surprise that food processing as an industry was never given a second thought in the Northeast even by intellectuals.
He said the region with its vast resources and bio-diversity produces ample exotic fruits and vegetables, which can be made economically viable through the food processing industry.
Citing the rich potential of Arunachal Pradesh in this sector, Teli called for the creation of a food processing department to exclusively deal with the subject and offered full cooperation of his ministry. To drive home the Ministry’s commitment to uplift the sector, the MoS urged the state government to fast- track the establishment of a Mega Food Park in Arunachal already approved by the Ministry.
“Of the Rs 140 crore for Northeast, we still have Rs 110 crore unspent. Therefore, states of the region need to accelerate the development of Mega Food Parks and Mini Food Parks as envisaged and proposed,” Teli informed.
He urged entrepreneurs and progressive farmers present to take full advantage of the workshop and equip themselves with prospects and benefits under the PMKSY.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu informed that all decks have been cleared for the establishment of the Mega Food Park near the state capital and the state government will provide all basic facilities like water and power supply as required under the scheme.
Underscoring the state’s potential in agri-horti produces like kiwi, orange, apple, pineapple, banana, tea, etc, Khandu said if food processing is taken up extensively, it in itself could change the economy of the farming community. He cited a lack of market knowledge as one big hindrance in take-off of the farming sector and called for enhancing farmers’ knowledge on the latest market trends and demands.
“Nature has given us so much, we can easily become the richest and happiest state in the country,” he said. Khandu informed that the state government has already prepared a roadmap to boost the agri-horti sector based on which schemes are being formulated and launched phase-wise. “We have set a target to at least benefit 90000 farmers in the state by 2022,” he added.