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‘Plug in & start up’ at mega food park

- Over 20 processing units at Nathkuchi

Guwahati, May 29: The North East Mega Food Park is nearing completion after having set up infrastructure for entrepreneurs to “plug in and start operations”.

“We have set up standard design factories for entrepreneurs to plug in and start manufacture. The other alternative is to provide land for producers to set up food processing units on their own from June. The plan is to start operations by October,” Ronn Pakrashi, chief co-ordinating officer of North East Mega Food Park Ltd, told The Telegraph.

The food park will house over 20 food-processing units at Nathkuchi, 90km from here, in Nalbari district spread across 50 acres land.

“We also have also set up a 2,000-metric tonne cold storage, a 10,000sq ft warehouse, a common facility, a dehydration unit and a food-processing laboratory over 23 acres. So, storage of fruits and vegetables will not be a problem,” Pakrashi said.

Producers and companies opting for land will be provided basic infrastructure such as RCC structures, power (10MW) and water among other amenities, he said.

The project has been conceived as a special purpose vehicle under Vision 2015 of the ministry of food processing industries with a collective investment of Rs 250 crore. It is expected to yield an annual turnover of Rs 400 to Rs 500 crore.

“The objectives of the project is to catalyse the food processing sector in the region, increase processing level by eight to 10 per cent, enhance value-addition to fruits and vegetables, minimise post-harvest losses and establish a supply chain,” Pakrashi said.

The project seeks to establish direct link from farm to processing and to the consumer markets through a network of collection centres and primary processing centres.

“A central processing unit at Nathkuchi will be linked to six primary processing centres in Assam and 16 collection centres across the Northeast. Four primary processing centres have been finalised at Tinsukia, Haiborgaon (Nagaon), Silchar and Chaygaon after a tie-up with Assam State Warehousing Corporation,” he said.

Farmers can sell their produce at the collection centres. “Designated counters will be in place at the collection centres where a farmer can sell items such as fruits, vegetables and spices. The idea is to cut out the role of middlemen and help realise fair prices for the farmers,” the official said.

“We also have a marketing and backward integration division in place to help farmers and small industries get a proper market for their products by linking them with entrepreneurs and companies,” he added.

The Assam Industrial Development Corporation Ltd has 24 per cent share in the venture while private players such as Ozone Ayurvedics (48 per cent), LMJ International (22 per cent) and Rajsekhar Constructions (five per cent) are the other promoters.

The food park is expected to generate employment for about 3,000 people in the Northeast.