Project would increase the income of farmers
Further propelling industrial growth and catalysing employment generation in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday laid the foundation stone of a Vegetable Processing Plant, being set up jointly by IFFCO and one of Spain’s leading companies in food processing Congelados de Navarra (CN Corp).
Laying the foundation stone near Samrala, the Chief Minister said the project was aligned to his vision for the state’s rapid industrialization to create jobs for the youth and boost revenue for Punjab.
Pointing out that the state government’s new industrial policy had been received extremely well, Captain Amarinder said the revival of the Mandi Gobindgarh industrial belt had seen 600 exiting units restore operations, with 40 new units also investing in the region. His government, said the Chief Minister, had so far inked 299 MoUs worth Rs 51,969 cr with several companies. Further, he disclosed that 650 new projects worth Rs. 46902 cr with a proposed employment of 167,309 have come up during the tenure of his Government.
Being set up over 52 acres of land at an estimated cost of Rs. 521 crore, the plant will have a processing capacity of 80,000 metric tonnes per annum, with the eventual investment expected to touch Rs. 1000 core. The project, which will create 2500 direct and indirect jobs, will also help boost farm income as the plant will procure 150,00 metric tonnes of raw vegetables directly from the local farmers within a radius of 150 kilometers, said the Chief Minister.
The project will have facilities to process wide range of Individual quick freezing (IQF) vegetables e.g. Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrot, Green peas, Corn etc. and to process potatoes to manufacture French Fries and Potato snacks. The commercial production of the project is likely to start in 2020. It will bring Spanish know-how of the agri-sector to India and will boost overall infrastructure within the agro economic ecosystem e.g. research centres, seed growers, machinery producers, cold stores, transport sector etc.
The company will provide training to the farmers to educate them about the new and modern techniques of farming and will work closely with farmers to provide them information on using new techniques, seeds, pesticides, balance fertilisation, crop rotation leading to increase in farm productivity and quality of agri-produce.
Given the precarious water situation in the state, the need for conservation was high, necessitating introduction of crops that consume less water but yield higher remuneration for farmers, said the Chief Minister. The plant, he noted, would benefit 10,000 farmers with better remuneration and yield.
Besides the CN IFFCO project, the Chief Minister said that Invest Punjab, through the Department of Investment Promotion, was also working on other major projects in food processing sector viz. Varun Beverages ltd (Pepsico) 800 cr, Verka 327 cr, Ludhiana Beverages (Coca Cola) 220 cr, Frigerio Conerva Allana 125 cr, Chankya Dairy 104 cr, Adani Wilmar 64 cr, Godrej Tyson 57 cr, Iskon Balaji 25 cr. Talks were in progress with UAE based companies viz. EMMAR, Sharaf Group and Lulu Group International for agro processing facilities and agri export from Punjab. Infact, LULU Group International has already sourced around 200 Tonnes of kinnow from Punjab and is in discussions with Markfed, Punjab Agro and private players for sourcing more Agri based products from Punjab.
Buoyed by the Positive Investment Scenario in the State, ITC Group has purchased additional land for expansion of their existing unit at Kapurthala. Cargill, a US feed company having its plant at Bathinda is also expanding its operations in Punjab, the Chief Minister revealed.
Earlier, MD IFFCO Balwinder Singh Nakai presented a shawl and a Sri Sahib (a sword) to the Chief Minister. Welcoming the Chief Minister, Samrala MLA Amrik Singh Dhillon lauded him for fulfilling the promises made by the Congress ahead of the Assembly polls and drew his attention to some of the pending concerns of the residents.
On the occasion, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Spain in India, Eduardo Sanchez said that this project would increase the income of farmers involved in food processing. He said that the Food Processing Sector was a top priority sector of Spanish companies and these would definitely transform the destiny of farmers by providing them know-how of global advancements and marketing opportunities.
Punjab Industries & Commerce Minister Sunder Sham Arora, CM’s Media Advisor Raveen Thukral, Chairman Markfed Amarjit Singh Samra, Member Parliament from Fatehgarh Sahib Amar Singh, MLAs Lakhbir Singh Lakha and Kuldip Singh Vaid, CM’s Special Principal Secretary to Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, Invest Punjab CEO Rajat Agarwal and Invest Punjab Sector Officer, Agro & Food Processing, Sanjeev Gupta were present at the event, along with IFFCO MD Dr U S Awasthi and CN IFFCO Chairman Benito Jimenez.