Former union food processing industries minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Monday said the start of operations of the third mega food park in Punjab, which is among the top five in the maize sector in the country, would benefit farmers, besides resulting in crop diversification.
In a statement here, Harsimrat, while congratulating the promoters of Sukhjit Mega Food Park based in Phagwara and Kapurthala, said that besides creating a huge demand for maize cultivation and produce, it would also lay the foundation of the maize processing industry in the state. “The anchor unit in the park has a maize grinding capacity of 600 tonnes per day. Besides this, processing units which include those for processing coarse grains, fruits, vegetables and oil seeds, are also coming up at the mega food park.”
Farmers are presently selling maize crop below MSP. Whether the food park will improve rates of crop is yet to be seen.
Stating that a large part of the state would benefited by initiation of maize processing in Punjab, Harsimrat Badal said the mega food park had also established three primary processing centers at Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar and Amritsar. She said these centers would create a readymade market for maize farmers. “The processing center at Hoshiarpur is ready while those at Amritsar and Jalandhar, which also have cold storage facilities besides dry warehousing and grading yards, are set to be completed soon. This will reduce wastage and ensure optimum value to farmers for their maize crop,” she added.
The former minister said Sukhjit Mega Food Park was among the three mega projects including one at Fazilka and Ludhiana, which she had been facilitated by the food processing ministry during her tenure. She said the ministry had given a grant of Rs 47 crore for the Phagwara park, besides obtaining various approvals on its behalf from State and central agencies.
The Bathinda MP said Punjab had received an investment of Rs 1,200 crore in the food processing sector during her tenure in the food processing ministry, which would benefit 1.25 lakh farmers besides giving employment to 40,000 persons. She said these initiatives had resulted in attracting private investment of Rs 800 crore through 41 projects including 19 cold chains, seven food testing laboratories, three clusters, four food processing units and four backward-forward linkage projects. “A grant of Rs 400 crore was given for these projects”, she added.
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