In line with the Centre’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ initiative, the Ministry for Food Processing has launched the PM Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME) scheme with an outlay of ₹10,000 crore.

The scheme, launched on Monday, will assist nearly 2 lakh micro-food processing enterprises with credit-linked subsidy and special focus will be on supporting farmer producers organisations, self-help groups and cottage industries in rural and tribal regions, over the next five years.

The expenditure under the scheme would to be shared in 60:40 ratio between the Central and State governments and in 90:10 ratio with North Eastern and Himalayan States.

One district, one product

Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said, “The Ministry will adopt the ‘One District One Product (ODOP)’ approach and focus on scaling up existing clusters. States will be given complete flexibility in deciding what product needs to be promoted and from which districts,” she added.

These could be perishable or cereal based products such as mango, potato, litchi, tomato, poultry or millet-based products.

Speaking at the launch of the scheme in a virtual event, she said, that there as many as 25 lakh such unorganised small food processing units.

“Nearly 66 per cent of these units are located in villages and about 80 per cent of them are family owned. They face various challenges such as lack of access to institutional credit, to modern technology, do not have requisite marketing and branding skills and lack awareness about quality control,” she added.

“We hope to address these challenges through the launch of this scheme and enable them scale up their businesses in line with the ‘Vocal for Local’ initiative. We believe this will also catapult this sector by bringing unorganised micro food processing units to the organised sector,” Badal added.

The Ministry believes the scheme will generate investments of ₹35,000 crore and help create 9 lakh skilled and semi-skilled jobs.

Operation Greens scheme expanded

The Ministry has also formally announced the expansion of Operation Greens scheme from tomato, onion and potato crops to all perishable fruits and vegetables. Under this scheme, 50 per cent subsidy will be provided for six months for transportation of eligible crops from production clusters to consumption centres and for hiring storage for three months.

“Though we are formally launching this scheme now, we have already got more than 100 applicants for this scheme through the Ministry’s portal,” the Minister added.

Badal added that the Ministry is also starting 41 free e-learning certification courses for SC and ST entrepreneurs in the food processing sector.