Move aimed at giving major boost to food processing industry in state
With a twin objective of promoting food processing industry in the state on one hand and opening new vistas of employment for youth on the other, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday gave nod for setting up Food Processing Training and Business Incubation centre in Bathinda.
Presiding over a meeting to encourage food processing industry in the state here, this morning, the Chief Minister said that this Food Processing Training and Business Incubation centre to be set up by the Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) would go a long way in transforming the destiny of the beleaguered peasantry of the state, which was on the brink of economic disaster due to day-by-day squeezing margins of profit.
He said that this ambitious centre to come up on the land of Bathinda Research Centre of the Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) at a cost of about Rs 7 crore would impart training to the farmers, women and youth about the innovative techniques regarding the value addition of fruits, vegetables, coarse grains and others through food processing, so that they could earn huge profits from it.
Badal hoped that this centre to be set up on the pattern of Indian Institute of Crop Processing Technology (IICPT), Thanjvur would change the fortunes of the Punjabi farmers in the coming years.
The Chief Minister said that in the first phase, training would be imparted for the processing of fruits and vegetables into jams, jellies, pickles, juices and others whereas in the second phase to be initiated later on training for bakery and confectionary products would be given.
Underscoring the need for providing adequate marketing facilities for the products to be manufactured in this centre, he said that the PAU must construct outlets on its land in Bathinda to sell the products manufactured from this centre.
Badal said that keeping in view huge scope of food processing industry, Punjabi farmers could be duly benefitted from it.
Expressing concern over the lack of awareness amongst the people regarding the tremendous potential in food processing industry, the Chief Minister said that the state government must embark a special campaign for making the people aware about the enormous benefits they could get from this industry.
He also emphasised the need for strengthening the extension services of both the PAU and Agriculture department to make the people especially the farmers aware about the huge scope in the food processing industry.
During the meeting Vice Chancellor of PAU Dr B S Dhillon apprised the Chief Minister that the University would soon set up two more such centres at Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur besides upgrading the existing one at Ludhiana.
Prominent among those present at the meeting included Financial Commissioner Development (FCD) Suresh Kumar, Principal Secretary Food Processing S R Ladhar, Special Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Gaggandip Singh Brar, Director Horticulture Gurkanwal Singh and Assistant General Manager (AGM) Punjab Agro Rajesh Tuli.