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Food trade gets a leg-up

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 14: The state, with the help of the Centre, plans to give a fillip to food processing units and promote the industry.

The Centre and the state government will provide financial assistance to food processing units for capacity augmentation through technology transfer and skill upgrades.

Food processing will be treated as an industry in its own right and liberal assistance will be extended.

The scheme will give a big boost to businesses relating to marine products, fruits and vegetables.

The government is formulating the Odisha Food Processing Policy-2012 and has approached the Mysore-based Central Food Technological Research Institute to prepare a vision document.

Financial assistance will be extended up to 25 per cent of the plant and machinery cost and technical civil works for modernisation of food processing units.

Assistance of up to 50 per cent of the cost will be given for setting up cold storage centres for non-horticultural produce.

In a bid to give a boost to technical courses dealing with agro and food processing industries, the government will provide money to private institutions to run courses and establish food processing training centres.

These financial incentives will be provided under the National Mission on Food Processing, a centrally sponsored scheme being implemented in the 12th plan period. The Centre will provide 75 per cent of the funds, while Odisha government will bear the rest.

The State Food Processing Development Council, an apex decision-making and planning body for the industry at the state level, has been constituted under the chairmanship of the chief minister.

The State-Level Empowered Committee headed by chief secretary Bijay Patnaik met last week to discuss the road map for the task.

It has been decided that preparatory activities such as strengthening the administrative set up, awareness generation, publicity and hiring of experts will be done in the first phase.