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FOOD PROCESSING

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approves Centre’s SAMPADA scheme
Friday, 05 May, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by prime minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for restructuring the schemes of the ministry of food processing industries (MoFPI) under the new central sector scheme, SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters) for the period 2016-2020 coterminous with the 14th Finance Commission cycle.
 
SAMPADA, with an allocation of Rs 6,000 crore, is expected to leverage investment of Rs 31,400 crore and handling of 334 lakh metric tons of agro-produce valued at Rs 1,04,125 crore, benefit 20 lakh farmers and generate 5,30,500 direct and indirect employments in the country by the year 2019-20. The objective of the scheme is to supplement agriculture, modernise processing and decrease agri-waste.
 
It is an umbrella scheme incorporating ongoing schemes of the ministry like mega food parks, integrated cold chain and value addition infrastructure and food safety and quality assurance infrastructure and new schemes like infrastructure for agro-processing clusters, creation of backward and forward linkages, creation and expansion of food processing and preservation capacities.
 
SAMPADA is a comprehensive package to give a renewed thrust to the food processing sector in the country. It includes new schemes of infrastructure for agro-processing clusters, creation of backward and forward linkages and creation and expansion of food processing and preservation capacities aim at development of modern infrastructure to encourage entrepreneurs to set up food processing units based on cluster approach, provide effective and seamless backward and forward integration for processed food industry by plugging gaps in supply chain and creation of processing and preservation capacities and modernisation or expansion of existing food processing units.
 
The implementation of SAMPADA will result in the creation of modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management from farm gate to retail outlet. It will not only provide a big boost to the growth of the food processing sector in the country, but also help in providing better prices to farmers and is a big step towards doubling of farmers’ incomes.

It will create huge employment opportunities, especially in the rural areas. It will also help in reducing wastage of agricultural produce, increasing the processing level and availability of safe and convenient processed foods at affordable prices to consumers and enhancing the export of processed foods.
 
Background
The food processing sector has emerged as an important segment of the Indian economy in terms of its contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP), employment and investment. In 2015-16, the sector constituted as much as 9.1 and 8.6 per cent of the GVA in the manufacturing and agriculture sectors, respectively.
 
The manifesto of the NDA government stresses upon incentivising the setting up of the food processing industry for providing better incomes for the farmers and creating jobs.
 
Various measures have been taken by the government to give a boost to the food processing sector. With these measures, the food processing sector has grown at seven per cent. In order to arrest post-harvest losses of horticulture and non-horticulture produce, the ministry has accorded approval to 42 mega food parks and 236 integrated cold chains for creation of modern infrastructure for the food processing along the value chain from the farm to the market. Out of 42 mega food parks, eight are operational. Of this, six mega food parks have been made operational during the last three years. Another four mega food parks are targeted for operationalisation in the next three months. Similarly, out of 236 cold chains, 101 were sanctioned in March 2017. A hundred cold chains have become operational. Of these, 63 cold chains have been made operational during the last three years.
 
The government has taken a number of other measures to boost the food processing sector. These are as follows:
 
(a)      To provide impetus to investment in the food processing and retail sectors, the government has allowed 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in trading including through e-commerce, in respect of food products manufactured and/or produced in India. This will benefit farmers immensely and will create back-end infrastructure and significant employment opportunities.
(b)      The government has also set up a special fund of Rs 2,000 crore in the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to make available affordable credit at concessional rate of interest to designated food parks and agro processing units in the designated food parks.
(c)      Food and agro-based processing units and cold chain infrastructure have been brought under the ambit of priority sector lending (PSL) to provide additional credit for food processing activities and infrastructure, thereby boosting food processing, reducing wastage, create employment and increasing farmers’ incomes.
 
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