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Govt warms up to food processing

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said the state government will provide incentives to small and medium enterprises keen to invest in food processing.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: February 3, 2011 2:59:51 am

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said the state government will provide incentives to small and medium enterprises keen to invest in food processing,according to its recently announced policy,in a bid to attract investment in the food processing industry

“According to the new food processing and horticulture policy,we shall provide benefits such as power and the creation of markets for small entrepreneurs with investments of about Rs 5 lakh. Also,since it is a seasonal industry,the policy will allow the industrialists to employ seasonal workers who shall not have to be paid throughout the year,” Bhattacharjee said at the inauguration of the Horti-food Fest,a festival organised by the state’s food processing industries and horticulture department.

Bhattacharjee said that in 2009-10,464 new food processing companies had invested Rs 1,279 crore in the state and generated additional employment for 36,000 people in the food processing sector. The sector attracted the fifth highest amount of investment among all the industries in the state.

The chief minister said that West Bengal produces the maximum amount of vegetables like cabbage,cauliflower and brinjal. Overall vegetable production is 1.30 lakh metric tons – 28 lakh tonnes of fruits,1,30 lakh tonnes of vegetables and 5,500 tonnes of flowers.

“The government and entrepreneurs in this sector have to work hand in hand so that farmers may get the rightful prices for their produce,” he said stressing that the biggest challenge was ensuring markets and facilities for the preservation of the produce.

The chief minister said that Dum Dum and Bagdogra airports had a new facility for storing fruits,vegetables and flowers so that they may be easily transported and sold in international markets.

Bhattacharjee said that 31 multipurpose cold storage facilities to be set up by the state government’s agri-marketing department were nearing completion and would be operational in the next one or two months.

Speaking at the festival which will continue till February 6,Mohanta Chatterjee,the state’s minister for food processing industries and horticulture,highlighted the benefits of the West Bengal Food Processing Industry Policy 2011.

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