Mega Food Parks: Rising Farmers’ incomes and Job Opportunities

Mega Food Parks

India now has the fastest growing global economy and a population of over 1.3 billion people. Increasing disposable income in the country has fuelled the expansion of the world’s largest consumer market. India is the world’s largest producer of milk, as well as the world’s second largest producer of fruits, vegetables, and fish. The country has a plentiful supply of raw materials for the food processing industry. Despite this, only about 2-5 percent of the country’s natural produce is processed. In the absence of a proper processing mechanism, it is estimated that nearly 25-30% of agricultural produce is wasted. Hardly 7% of Total Indian perishable produce is processed.

Recognizing the need to improve the capacity of the food processing industry, the government has launched a number of initiatives to encourage the sector’s growth. One significant idea is the Mega Food Parks scheme, which aims to establish mega food clusters in India. Mega Food Park can provide modern infrastructure besides food processing along the valuation chain from farm to market.

What is a mega food park?

The Ministry of Food Processing Industries is implementing the Mega Food Parks Scheme in the country to give a significant boost to the food processing sector by adding value and reducing food waste at each stage of the supply chain, with a particular focus on perishables. Mega Food Parks employ a cluster-based approach to construct advanced infrastructure facilities for food processing all along the value chain from farm to market, with strong forward and backward linkages. Common facilities and enabling infrastructure are established at the Central Processing Centre, and primary processing and storage facilities are established near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centres (PPCs) and Collection Centres (CCs). The Government of India provides financial support up to Rs 50 Crore per Mega Food Park project under the Scheme.

Collection Centres (CCs)

The CCs serve as collection points for produce from individual farmers, farmer groups, and Self-Help Groups. They deliver raw materials to the PPCs. Local business owners run the collection centres. They serve as farm-level aggregation points for neighbouring areas within a 10-kilometer radius. It was anticipated that these CCs would emerge as rural commerce hubs, boosting economic activity in the area.

Primary Processing Centres (PPCs)

The PPCs collaborate with primary handling centres, which use raw materials that will be further processed in the CPC ki. A PPC serves a number of nearby CCs. Some PPCs have in-house pulping, juicing, and other services. They have refrigerated vans, trucks, and other equipment to transport materials to CPC as quickly as possible.

Primary Processing Centres (PPCs)

Central Processing Centres-

The Central Processing Centre is a 50-acre industrial park that houses a number of processing units owned by various business houses. The Park will offer common services such as water, electricity, and effluent treatment, as well as specialised services such as cold storage, warehousing, logistics, and backward integration via a network of primary processing centres and collection centres. Thus, Mega Food Park is an all-encompassing concept that aims to establish direct links from farm to processing to consumer markets. The efficient logistics that connects the CCs and PPCs to the CPC is the cornerstone of a Mega Food Park’s success. Furthermore, the cluster-based approach is a key feature of this scheme.

Key features of food parks-

  • It is a cluster-based approach.
  • Demand-driven view with an emphasis on strong backward and forward integration.
  • Enabling Infrastructure Creation throughout the Supply Chain and Technology.
  • Establishment of Central Processing Centres (CPCs) and Primary Processing Centres (PPCs) (PPC).
  • Common facilities and amenities will be aided.
  •  Invest in food processing units to gain a competitive advantage.
  • Participation of stakeholders in a private-led initiative via a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)
  • Assistance in the creation of common enabling facilities
  • A typical project cost of Rs 120-150 crore is anticipated.
  • Land – ineligible for funding from the GOI grant
  •  Assistance from the Ministry.
  • The project is limited to non-land components, and it is completed on a 50-50-50 basis: Rs. 50 crore grants from the government; 50-acre land is required; and a minimum investment of Rs. 50 crores by the park developer.
  • In general, 50% of project costs are limited to Rs. 50 crores.
  • In difficult and hilly areas, as well as ITDP-notified areas, 75 percent of project costs are limited to Rs. 50 crores.
  • Mega Food Parks, with their enormous expansion potential, can assist India in meeting future food demands.

Key Mega food parks in India-

Key Mega food parks in India
  1. Patanjali Food and Herbal Park, Padartha, Haridwar, Uttarakhand.
  2. Srini Mega Food Park, Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh.
  3. Indus Best Mega Food Park, Raipur, Chhattisgarh.
  4. Cremica Mega Food Park, Una, Himachal Pradesh.
  5. Godavari Mega Aqua Park, West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh.
  6. Northeast Mega Food Park, Tihu, Nalbari, Assam
  7. Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation Mega Food Park (KINFRA), Kerala.
  8. Gujarat Agro Mega Food Park, Surat, Gujarat
  9. Avantee Mega Food Park, Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
  10. Integrated Mega Food Park, Tumkur, Karnataka.
  11. Indus Mega Food Park, Khargoan, Madhya Pradesh
  12. Paithan Mega Food Park, Aurangabad, Maharashtra.
  13. Jangipur Bengal Mega Food Park, Raghunathganj, Murshidabad, West Bengal.
  14. Zoram Mega Food Park,Mizoram.
  15. MITS Mega Food Park, Rayagada, Odisha. International Mega Food Park, Fazilka, Punjab.
  16. Satara Mega Food Park, Satara, Maharashtra
  17. Sukhjit Mega Food Park, Kapurthala, Punjab.
  18. Tripura Mega Food Park, Uttar Champamura, Tripura.
  19. Smart Agro Mega Food Park, Nizamabad, Telangana.
  20. Himalayan Mega Food Park, Udham Singh Nagar, Kashipur, Uttarakhand
  21. Greentech Mega Food Park, Ajmer, Rajasthan.
  22. International Mega Food Park, Fazilka, Punjab.

Objectives of Mega food parks in India-

  • To increase perishable crop processing.
  • To increase India’s participation in global food trade.
  • Creating a “direct linkage from farm produce to the processing market (processors and retailers) and then to consumer markets” via a network of collection and primary processing centres.
  • To reduce agricultural waste by providing the necessary infrastructure.
  • To reduce perishable waste, increase food processing from 6% to 20%, and increase India’s share of the food processing industry from 1.5% to 3%.
  • Providing a mechanism to connect agricultural production to the market by bringing together farmers, processors, and retailers in order to maximise value addition, minimise waste, create employment opportunities and increase farmer income particularly in the rural sector.
  • To build high-quality food-processing infrastructure close to farms. These included logistics, transportation, and central processing centres, ensuring –
  • In rural areas, both direct and indirect job creation is possible.
  • Introducing farmers to more systematic, market-driven, and profitable farming practises.
  • Farmers’ income is increased as a result of this project.
  • Post-harvest losses are reduced.
  • The value chain from farm to market is maintained.

Conclusion-

In the next decade or so, the country’s total food production is expected to double. Despite this, the country currently accounts for less than 1.5% of international food trade, and a lack of processing facilities means that approximately 35% of agricultural produce worth approximately $10 billion is wasted. In this context, food parks have become essential for bridging the gap between farmers and traders. According to studies, the food processing industry has an untapped domestic market of one billion consumers in the country and has thus been designated as a priority sector in the government’s new trade policy. The Food Park scheme was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in September 2008. Its goal was to encourage public-private partnerships in the creation of rural infrastructure in the food processing sector, and the scheme was implemented as part of the tenth five-year plan. However, for the 11th Five Year Plan Period, it was revised and renamed the Mega Food Park scheme to meet the requirements of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries’ Vision 2015. So far, the government has approved 42 Mega Food Park projects across the country. And 25 of them are already in place in various states. The government has received 72 expressions of interest for the remaining 17, which are expected to attract investments worth Rs. 2,100 crores.

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