Jharkhand CM unveils state’s agri-ambitions

‘We have more to offer than minerals; November food summit to show the way’

By Our Bureau
  • Published 10.10.18, 1:56 AM
  • Updated 10.10.18, 1:56 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Raghubar Das at the agri meet in New Delhi on Tuesday Telegraph picture

Jamshedpur/New Delhi: Chief minister Raghubar Das pitched Jharkhand as India’s emerging vegetable basket while calling for investments to set up food processing units during a global agriculture and food summit that the state is slated to host in November.

Addressing stakeholders in New Delhi, part of a series of road shows to promote Global Agriculture and Food Summit to be held in Ranchi between November 29 and 30, Das enumerated the state’s investment potential in food processing industries, horticulture, floriculture, dairy and fisheries.

“After the people elected a stable government in 2014, the state government has been consciously trying to change the perception that Jharkhand is only for mines and mineral based industries; and hosting the agriculture and food summit is a step in this direction,” he told the gathering of over 200 potential investors, NGOs and Ficci.

Das said an effective single window system meant that work to set up 89 units in the food processing sector had begun on the ground. MoUs for these projects were signed during the Global Investors’ Summit last year.

“As of now, 212 food processing units are functional in the state and on November 29, foundation stones of another 50 food processing units will be laid. We are committed to doubling the income of farmers,” he said.

Das said a state government delegation had received encouraging response in China where it had gone in September to scout for agri investments. “We received encouraging response in China. Our government has decided to give a 50 per cent discount for leasing land to set up food processing facilities in the state. We have made payment for land easier by agreeing on 10 installments over 10 years.”

He said the state was keen to produce organic vegetables on a large scale in the footsteps of Sikkim, India’s first wholly organic state. “Farmer groups have been sent to Sikkim and also to Israel to learn about organic farming and certification.”

As a measure of Jharkhand’s industry-friendly ambience, Das said after the 2017 investors’ summit, ground breaking ceremonies had been held in many parts of the state. “Job opportunities were created for over 62,000 people.”

Chief secretary Sudhir Tripathi, industries secretary Vinay Kumar Choubey, agriculture secretary Pooja Singhal also addressed the gathering, noting that Jharkhand was the second largest producer of tomatoes in India. Jharkhand, it was said, produced nearly 3.5 million tonne vegetables, including one million tonne high-quality vegetables suitable for food processing.

Among those who had set up units in Jharkhand, including senior executives of HR Food Processing Rakesh Sharma and Safal Pradeep Sahay, shared their experiences.

Das, along with development commissioner D.K. Tiwari and principal secretary to the CM Sunil Kumar Barnwal, held a meeting with over 20 investors, including president and COO of TAFE T. R. Kesavan.

Das later met ambassadors and councillors of 22 countries, including China, Russia, Tunisia, Philipines, Austria, Denmark, Spain, Japan, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Greece, among others, to invite companies willing to invest in food processing and agriculture for the November summit. Union minister of state for external affairs General V. K Singh appealed to ambassadors to personally visit Jharkhand and explore its investment opportunities.