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Centre sanctions Rs 4000 crore to Karnataka for setting up food parks
Thursday, 09 July, 2020, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
In a major boost to the Karnataka agriculture sector, the Central government has sanctioned Rs 4,000 crore for the setting up of food parks.

Karnataka Agriculture Minister B C Patil informed that Central Government has provided Rs 4,000 crore under Atmanirbhar programme to improve infrastructure for the food parks in the state.

The state is known for the India Food Park at Tumkur which came up under the assistance of the Ministry of Food Processing. The other six parks at Hiriyur, Maddur, Jewargi, Belagavi, Malur and Bagalkote are not functioning well and some of them have not take off.
The state is known for its 10 agro-climatic zones and 9 distinct soil types enabling it to grow virtually every kind of agri and horticultural produce.

 “The move by the Central government will give fillip to the potential entrepreneurs as it would encourage agri start-ups in the state to set up production and related units in the food parks. All new concepts fail initially. Knowing very well that the first few food parks did not deliver, yet we still need them. However it is important that value addition of the agricultural produce can happen and should take place in each district in the state,” said Jagadeesh Sunkad, thought leader, agri-tech start-up space, while speaking to FnB News.

“In the earlier attempt to set up the food parks, land was an asset. Now people realise, it is in fact a liability. Unlike the past, land will not have unreasonable value. Therefore we should expect new ventures to start,” said Sunkad.

According to Chetan Hanchate, director and CEO, Centre for Processed Foods, and food consultant, the promotion of agro-processing sector to get further expanded and adopt the primary processing aspects further more by planning new food parks. Moreover this infrastructure is critical and the new food parks can reduce the post- harvest losses which is a way to bypass the intermediary traders.

Many food parks have been set up in the past promoting agri-food processing operations that have not taken off as it could not attract entrepreneurs and industries to start off operations. During this Covid-19 pandemic, the agro-food sector has played an intrinsic role in the essential services category. This has led to every possible production and marketing activity under the agri-food category is seen to hold promising prospects for growth. “With the Central government envisaging a fund infusion further highlights the immense opportunity for food parks. Here the farmers can expand their agricultural activity provided the right incentives also come in for them,” said Hanchate.
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