Union Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Wednesday approved the establishment of first-of-its-kind food processing-cum-business incubation centre at Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) Regional Research Station in Bathinda.
A memorandum to this effect has been signed between PAU and Indian Institute of Crop Processing Technology (IICPT) at Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu in the presence of Harsimrat.
The centre will be a joint venture of PAU and IICPT, and will cater to the modern needs of peasantry in the area of food processing, besides enabling farmers and youth to acquire the necessary skill and training.
Giving details in this regard, here, Harsimrat said this centre will be operational within 6 months and that the same model would be replicated in other areas of Punjab. She said this centre would go a long way in supporting the farmers of the region as well as educating and making them aware of modern agriculture and marketing techniques. She said that the centre would also be a boon for the agriculture community as it would focus on processing of fruits and vegetables, besides milling of grains.
The food processing minister also informed that her ministry was contemplating to create mini food parks in different areas of Punjab to give a push to the processing of local produce to facilitate farmers to produce high yields with marketing facilities.
She said that these parks would be spread over 20 to 25 acre. She added that the creation of primary processing centres was also the focus area of her ministry under which cooperatives would be engaged to set-up ultra-modern processing centres for milk, fruit and vegetables. She gave a call to Punjabi farmers to take full advantage of various schemes of department to come out of the vicious paddy-wheat cycle.
She said that requisite grants would be given by her ministry for setting up state-of-the-art abattoirs vis-à-vis reefer vehicle schemes. She added that her ministry would provide grant of Rs 5 lakh each to individual meat shop owner for requisite refrigeration facilities.
The MoU was signed by PAU Vice-Chancellor B S Dhillon and IICPT Director Dr K Singaravadivel in the presence of the union minister.