Agri-business has a lot to offer: Chopra
Kolkata: Pointing out the opportunities in agricultural business ahead of the Bengal Global Business Summit in January next year, state Additional Chief Secretary for Agriculture Sanjeev Chopra urged private players to invest in cold chain infrastructure and food processing laboratories.
Taking the cue from Chopra, Nandini Chakravorty, Secretary of Food Processing and Horticulture pointed out that post-harvest management of various food products is a challenge for the government. "We have already prepared agri-horticulture blueprint and identified some gaps in infrastructure that need to be addressed to tap the export potential of various produces. The government has plans to cater to demand-driven supply management for which private investment in setting up food processing laboratories is essential," she said.
Apart from Chopra and Chakravorty, Fisheries Secretary Ravi Inder Singh and Agriculture Marketing Secretary Rajesh Kumar Sinha also spoke in an interactive session on 'Agri-Business Opportunities in West Bengal' organised by Merchants' Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Chakravorty said that the department for the first time has exported mangoes to Europe and litchis to Middle East. "We want to target countries like New Zealand, Australia and others for exporting fruits," she added.
Chakravorty, who is also the Industry department Secretary, said that a policy on design and packaging by the government is on the anvil. "It is a reality that a product sells only when it is packaged properly. Packaging can also enhance the shelf life of a product. Our new policy will have the yardsticks that will be followed across the state a by all concerned government departments," she said.
State Fisheries Secretary Ravi Inder Singh also stressed upon setting up infrastructure for storage. "We have exported 1 lakh metric tonnes of fish this year. The potential for export is 3 lakh metric tonnes. In the last 3 years, a number of private players have come forward and some projects have already been grounded which is encouraging, " he maintained.
Pradip Kumar Mazumdar, Agriculture and Allied Sectors Advisor to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, urged the private players to contemplate using fish feed effectively in addressing environmental concerns.