Saturday, January 29, 2011

Punjab’s agro-processing sector cheers as investments flow in

Saturday, January 29, 2011 08:00 IST 
Our Bureau, Mumbai

The union ministry of food processing industries must be sulking for investmnets in the sector but for Punjab the story is certainly different. With Rs 300-crore investment proposals coming in the agro-processing sector, the state is looking forward to potential employment opportunities and growth in the state's economy.

The investment proposals that came in the state's agro-processing sector included setting up of two textile units, expansion of barley processing plant, union food processing ministry's mega food park and a biogas-plant in the state. 

"The screening committee of the Punjab government has cleared these projects," a senior official of the state-owned Punjab Agro Industries Corporation (PAIC), said.

Punjab offers incentives such as exemption in stamp duty on buying land, electricity duty, etc, on setting up a mega project with an investment over Rs 25 crore in the state.

The UB Group's subsidiary, Maltex Malsters, has proposed to expand its barley processing into malt capacity from 20,000 tonnes to 50,000 tonnes per annum in the next 12 months, at a cost of Rs 31 crore. The company had a unit in Patiala and it uses malt for its distillery business.

Another project proposal in the offing is the state's first mega food park, conceptualised by the union food processing ministry, to be set up at Fazilka with an investment of Rs 132 crore, offering 5,000 jobs. The ministry has assigned this project to International Fresh Farm Products Limited.

The park will have a state-of-the-art infrastructure meant for agro or food-processing sector along with value chain from farm to market that would help in attracting investments in food processing and fetch remuneratives to the farmers.

Another company called Sampuran Agri Ventures has proposed to set up a paddy straw- based biogas generation plant at Fazilka, entailing an investment of Rs 62 crore, with a processing capacity of 105 tonnes per hour.

Punjab has received investments worth Rs 5,000 crore in farm processing units in the last four years.

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