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‘Domestic, export markets offer a toast to State food processing sector’

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on March 27, 2015 Published on March 27, 2015

Nabard holds meet on value-added agriculture and food processing for MSMEs

The fast emerging domestic market and a steadily growing export market are the two pillars of growth for the State’s food processing industry.

Availability of raw materials and trained manpower; a proactive local market; a vibrant retail chain; track record of existing players; and a large diaspora ensuring a captive market abroad are its advantage.

Favoured destination

The government’s industrial policy seeks to convert Kerala into a favoured destination for agro processing, according to M Beena, Managing Director, Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC).

She said this while speaking at a session on value-added agriculture and food processing for the micro, small, medium enterprises organised here on Friday by the Confederation of Indian Industry and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard).

KSIDC has developed three food parks at Kozhikode, Ernakulam and Pathanamthitta districts; a seafood park in Alappauzha district; and n incubation centre at Kakkancherry, Kozhikode.

It has also proposed a mega food park at Wayanad; a spices park at Idukki; and two quality control laboratories, Beena said.

Farm is mainstay

Babu Thomas, Vice-Chairman, CII-Thiruvananthapuram, opened the session by stating that 49 per cent of the total employment in the State is realised form the agriculture sector.

As for the country as a whole, the booming services and industrial sector apart, agriculture continues to remain the mainstay of the economy from an employment and livelihood perspective.

The food processing sector has become a catalyst for the development of Indian agriculture and is of enormous significance due to vital linkages and synergies it promotes between industry and agriculture.

Shivdas Menon, Convenor, CII Agriculture and Food Processing Panel, said that CII should initiate hi-tech agriculture for vegetables and fruits and value addition for the produce and processed food and packaging.

There is a lack of trained people in the greenhouse segment; even government greenhouses are not yet fully complete. A PPP model might work here, he said.

Small holdings

Ramesh Tenkil, Chief General Manager, Nabard, said that the average ownership of land is comparatively small and so farmers have to learn to achieve maximum crop productivity.

The food processing sector is a sunrise sector and there is a potential to make growth sustainable here. For this to happen, a new generation of agripreneurs needs to be developed.

According to him, food safety is one of the main focuses in the food processing industry today.

Vinod Manjila, Partner, Manjilas Food Products, said that in future, the modern kitchen will become non-existent and it will be processed food shall take over.

Others who spoke included Alex Thomas, Managing Director, Tierra Foods India; Sunilkumar S, Managing Director and Principal Consultant, AUM Consulting; and D Sivakumar, Joint Commissioner for Food Safety.

The session ended with a panel discussion of senior officials from Federal Bank, Canara Bank, State Bank of India and State Bank of Travancore.

Published on March 27, 2015
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