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Upgrade bid in food processing

The West Bengal State Food Processing and Horticulture Development Corporation is discussing a proposal with Jadavpur University (JU) for a training course for entrepreneurs in the food-processing sector.

“The idea is to develop manpower and technical expertise in the food-processing industry of Bengal. We intend to have a training course for small and large entrepreneurs that should be academic as well as technical. We are in talks with JU and asking it to approve of and certify the course,” said N. Hazra, managing director of the corporation. The aim is to upgrade and expand the food-processing sector.

The training course will cater to people who are either already in the trade or want to invest in it. “There is immense potential, as the state grows enough raw materials — both fruits and vegetables. We are lacking only in infrastructure. There is hardly much technical expertise and improved machinery in use in both small and large units. Even packaging and bottling is not up to the mark,” Hazra added.

Once the proposal is formally drafted, it will be sent for the central government’s nod under the ‘person-power development in food processing’ scheme. The Centre offers a maximum of Rs 50 lakh under the scheme. The entire project though, could cost between a crore and Rs 1.5 crore. For the rest of the funds, the government will work out an arrangement with private companies.

The training institute will be set up at Krishnagar, where the food-processing department already has a building. Later, it will be shifted to Bamunghata, South 24-Parganas. The government unit at Rajpur, on the city’s southern fringes, will be used for the practical portion of the course, Hazra added.

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