National conference on food processing held

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Pothashang News Service : Imphal, February  20, 2018: Deputy chief minister Yumnam Joykumar said state has active consideration to open cold storage to each district in the state soon at the the national conference on “Linking Startups and SMEs in Food Processing with Government Schemes and Markets” at Classic Hotel in Imphal today.

It was organised by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) in association with ministry of food processing industries (MoFPI), NABARD, Indian Council of Agricultural Research- Research Complex for North Eastern Hill region (ICAR RC NEH), Imphal. 

The minister said, although agricultural and horticultural products are abundant in the state, adequate processing and preserving facilities are not available as of now. There has been long pending demand of opening cold storages for preserving foods mainly fruits and vegetables in the state. Cold storage at least one each to all the districts is highly needed and therefore, planning is on to open it, he added.

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Many fruits, spices and vegetables of superior quality as compared to that of in other parts of the country are available in Manipur, said Joykumar. He appealed the entrepreneurs to look into such differences.

Quality products should be made available even in the international market and if once tested the demand of it will be growing. Most of the plants which had been used as medicines by our forefathers have a peculiar and unique value and therefore such value should be known to the younger generations as well. The conference will definitely help small and medium entrepreneurs to develop their businesses in future, he added.

Joint director, ICAR NEH Dr.Meghachandra Singh, officer-in-charge, NABARD Manipur P.N. Praveen Kumar, assistant director, ASSOCHAM ChetanVij, and secretary general, All Manipur Food Processors Association Sanajouba Singh and chairman, Manipur Rural Bank Prasanna Kumar Bal also attended among others in the conference.

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Entrepreneurs from different parts of the state attended.

Chetan Vij said the food processing industry has made some significant progress in North Eastern region of India. Areas like agro and horticulture processing, processing of plantation crops, organic farming as potential area in the promotion of industrial activities in the state of Manipur. He highlighted various schemes run by MoFPI like Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojna etc.   

Praveen Kumar said government of India is promoting the food processing sector by creating a fund of Rs.2,000 crore exclusively with NABARD. This fund will provide credit facility to farmers or SMEs at concessional rates, provided these units are planned to be opened in food parks. There are special incentives for North Eastern region.

Sanajauba Singhsaid the state’s economy is largely agrarian, food processing industry especially agro- horticultural based has been identified as a thrust area of development in the state.

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Prasanna Kumar Bal focused on the importance of easy loans to the budding entrepreneurs. Farmers must fulfill all formalities required to get financial assistance and do not try to take any short cuts. He added that it shall also encourage others to learn from their success stories.

Dr Meghachandra said the geo-climatic situation of Manipur offers an excellent scope for growing different varieties of fruits, vegetables, spices, plantation crops, medicinal and aromatic plants of high economic value. There is a need to diagnose the problems in the region for providing an improved production and marketing environment and value added economic benefit to farmers through appropriate science and technological policies for various post harvest functions in food processing industry.

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