Monday, August 9, 2010

Ministry grants in-principle approvals to three mega food parks

These proposed projects will come up in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Punjab; new proposals to be examined for a similar venture in Uttar Pradesh.

August 09, 2010 12:29 PM
Pallabika Gangul

The Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MOFPI) has given in-principle permissions to three food parks in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Punjab. The government was in the process of approving four food parks (including the three which have already been approved) since the past four months. But the project proposal for the park in Uttar Pradesh had some lacunae, therefore, the in-principle approval has been granted only for the above-mentioned three food parks. The government will invite new proposals for the fourth food park in Uttar Pradesh this week.

Every food park will have a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) comprising around three companies and representatives from banks, financial institutions and the food processing ministry. The Karnataka food park will be developed in Mandaya, Kolar. The three companies involved in this project are Capital Foods Ltd (which holds 40% share in the company); Pantaloon Retail (30% share) and Chordia Foods (30% share). Chordia is a Pune-based manufacturer and exporter of pickles.

The Maharashtra food park will come up in Sindhudurg (in the district of the same name) and the three companies in the strategic alliance are Temptation Foods Ltd (40% share); NNR Biofuels (40% share) and Valecha Engineering Ltd (10% share). A few other minor players are also part of this project.

In Punjab, the food park will be developed in Fazilka (Firozpur district) led by International Farm Fresh Ltd which will have 16% share in the company. Sukhinder Singh and Associate will hold 34% share; Narain Export Import Corporation (10% share) and Citrus State Tahliwala Jatta will hold 1% in the project. The promoters will decide on how to distribute the balance stake.

"We have given in-principle approval to three food parks. We were supposed to give approvals to four but we could not find relevant project proposals. We would be soon inviting proposals for the remaining project," said Ashok Sinha, secretary, MOFPI.

The final proposals for these three projects (which have obtained in-principle approvals) will have to be submitted in the next six months for a final nod from the government before these ventures are initiated. The SPV for each project will require an investment of around Rs120 crore-Rs150 crore, which includes the government's contribution of Rs50 crore.

Every food park will have around 27 processing and ancillary units which will process about 1,80,000 tonnes per annum of raw material-primarily comprising fruits, vegetables, rice and spices. MOFPI had received 37 proposals for the four mega food parks out of which 16 were for Maharashtra, 10 for Karnataka, six for Punjab and five for Uttar Pradesh. In Punjab, Mrs Bector's Food Specialties (a part of the Cremica Group), Brattle Foods Ltd, International Fresh Farm Products Ltd, Maninder Rice Mills, Kolkata-based LMJ Ltd, and an entrepreneur from the US have shown their interest.

In Karnataka, Capital Foods Ltd had shown interest in these food parks. In Maharashtra, Pantaloons Retail (India) Ltd, Paithan Mega Food Park, Temptation Foods Ltd, Dhoot Developers Pvt Ltd and Skil Infrastructure Ltd have shown their interest in these units. Temptation Foods Ltd is one of the applicants among the five with interest in the facilities in Uttar Pradesh.

The government is encouraging a public-private partnership model for setting up these food parks as these ventures will require huge investments. "We are encouraging three-four private players to come together to set up a food park so that the investments are shared. The government gives Rs50 crore as assistance for each food park, but that is not enough," said Mr Sinha.

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