State plans to set up five small food processing units

kolkata: The state Food Processing Industries & Horticulture (FPI& H) department is planning to set up five small food processing facilities with basic infrastructure to facilitate setting up of small units at that particular place. These units can utilise the common infrastructure of these food processing facilities for their own functioning.

"We have abundant raw material in the form of fruits and vegetables. But transportation to some other place for processing involves a lot of hassle and time. So, we have planned to set up five small food processing facilities with centralized cold rooms and allied facilities. Interested persons can set up their own units in these places and use the common facility of the cold room, laboratory etc of the government and run their own unit," Subrata Gupta, Additional Chief Secretary of FPI&H department said while speaking at a special session on "Developments and Opportunities in Food Processing & Horticulture Sector of West Bengal" at Merchants' Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The negotiation with NABARD in this matter is in its final stage and the department is hopeful of getting the approval by October so that the facilities can be put into place by January- February next year. The basic idea is to do food processing near to the place of produce so that there is no hassle of transportation to some other place for processing.

Gupta said farmers are often denied of a better price as they do not get enough time to sell their produce. "Post harvest there is a huge gap due to lack of cold storage and cold vehicles for transportation of things from the field to market. So we are encouraging the private sector to come forward and develop facilities for cold storage or pack houses," he said.

He also informed the chamber of the recent schemes of the union government for setting up such facilities where a subsidy up to the extent of 35 per cent can be availed.

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