FNB News – “75 proposals approved for the creation of incubation centers under PMFME”

The MoFPI has witnessed several key initiatives in recent times, from the PLI program to the PM-FME, with the government focusing on increasing value addition to the agro-economy. Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of State for Agribusinessin an email interaction, spoke at length about his department’s policies and the future roadmap with Ashwani Maindola. Excerpts:

1. What are the policy decisions taken by your ministry for the advancement of the food processing sector and the status of their implementation at present? Specifically, how is your ministry implementing the goal of applying modern technology to food processing industries and what are your ministry’s plans for research and development in the food processing sector?

Rep. Nearly half of India’s population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods, and agricultural development often fuels the development of other segments of the economy. Agriculture and farmers have been one of the government’s main focus areas for the past seven years. In this regard, the food processing sector plays an important role in reducing harvest and post-harvest losses of agriculture and related sector production through investments in preservation and processing infrastructure for the adding value in the country, creating off-farm jobs and plays an important role in doubling farmers’ incomes.

The Ministry of Agri-food Industries has recently considerably increased its interventions and assistance to ensure the overall development of the sector. It supports small and medium-sized food processing enterprises through various component programs of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana, promotion of micro-enterprises through upgrading of Pradhan Mantri micro-food processing enterprises ( PMFME) and the Production Linked Incentive Program (PLIS) helps build a champion. mark in the region. PMKSY is implemented from the year 2016-17, while PMFME and PLIS were launched in 2020-21 and 2021-22 respectively.

A total of 1082 projects have been approved for assistance under the PMKSY. Of these, 618 projects have been completed resulting in a processing and custody capacity of 184.47 lakh MT. Once the approved projects are completed, an investment of Rs 14,597 crore is expected to benefit around 50 lakh of farmers and is expected to result in over 6 lakh of direct/indirect employment.

The program has been restructured and is being implemented from the year 2021-22 to 2025-26 with a total expenditure of Rs.4600 crore. The Operation Greens component of PMKSY has grown from Tomato, Onion and Potato (TOP) to 22 perishables.

Furthermore, a total of 75 proposals were approved for setting up incubation centers under PMFME with an expenditure of Rs 200 crore and One District One Product (ODOP) was finalized for 710 districts in 35 states/UTs and has been approved. Of these 710 ODOPs, 137 unique products were identified.

In addition, the ministry provides financial assistance to undertake demand-driven R&D work to benefit the food processing industry in terms of product and process development, efficient technologies, better packaging, value added, etc thanks to an R&D component dedicated to the PMKSY. Two autonomous institutes under the administrative control of the ministry – NIFTEM, Kundli and NIFTEM, Thanjavur are also engaged in the development of new technologies for this sector. These institutions have been granted the status of an institute of national importance.

2. Your ministry is also in talks with the Ministry of Commerce to promote the export of processed food products. Can you elaborate on this topic and its implementation plan?

Rep. The agro-food sector represents 10.4% of exports and 8.98% of the country’s manufacturing GVA. The Ministry works closely with the Ministry of Commerce and its affiliated bodies such as APEDA, MPDA and export promotion councils to improve the level of exports and strives to link the export hub initiative of the district to the ODOP approach of the PMFME. The ministry works closely with the Ministry of Commerce to address tariff issues, RoDTEP issues in addition to non-tariff barriers that our industry faces in the overseas market.

3. The sector also lacks availability of credit for entrepreneurs and has high interest rates (eg the Rs 2000 crore NABARD fund which remains largely underutilized). Do you see the need for low-rate credit availability and how do you plan for it?

Rep. The availability of easy and affordable credit is crucial for the development of the sector and the ministry is addressing the issue of the use of dedicated funds created in NABARD for designated food parks and food processing units in those designated food parks. However, the government has taken several other measures to facilitate the availability of credit to the sector at affordable rates. In May 2020, the government introduced a flagship national infrastructure financing mechanism of Rs 1 lakh crore, namely the Agricultural Infrastructure Fund (AIF) to finance agricultural infrastructure, especially post-harvest, including godowns/ silos, packaging units, analytical units, sorting and grading. units, cold stores and cold chains, logistics facilities, primary processing centers, maturation, chambers, waxing plants, etc. The loans are backed by credit guarantee cover of up to Rs 2 crore. Agro-entrepreneurs and processors are encouraged to take advantage of this major support mechanism. In addition, a wide range of food processing and agribusiness activities are covered by Priority Sector Lending (PSL) standards.

4. Recently, the Production Linked Incentive Scheme -PLI was launched with a corpus of Rs 10900 crore for the MoFPI. How will this regime help the processing sector?

Rep. The Production Linked Incentives Scheme for the Food Processing Industry was approved by the Union Cabinet on March 31, 2021. The scheme was prepared based on NITI Aayog’s Cabinet Note on “Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan to Encourage Indian Manufacturing Capabilities and Increase Exports”, which tied production in 10 specific product lines, including the proposed PLI scheme for the food processing industry. The launch incentive program has been approved by the Union Cabinet. The main objective of this ministry program is to support the creation of global food manufacturing champions; Support of Indian food brands in international markets; Increase employment opportunities for off-farm employment and ensure remunerative prices for agricultural products and higher incomes for farmers. The plan has two parts. The first relates to the promotion of the manufacture of four main segments of food products, viz. Ready-to-cook/ready-to-eat (RTS/RTE) foods, processed fruits and vegetables, seafood, mozzarella cheese.

Newer/organic products from SMEs including free-range eggs, poultry meat and egg products from these segments are also covered under this component. The second component concerns support for brand image and marketing abroad to encourage the emergence of strong Indian brands. The implementation of this program is expected to expand the processing capacity to generate processed food products worth around Rs 33,400 crore. There is an additional investment opportunity of around Rs 9000 crore from this scheme. Moreover, by 2026-27, jobs will be created for about 2.5 lakh people. This scheme will give a new impetus to the efforts made by the Indian industry and will be effective in attracting new investments in the processing sector. This sector will certainly reach new heights by taking advantage of this incentive plan.

5. MoFPI had a project to build mini parks, what is the status of this plan? Other than that, what is the status of the Mega Food Park project? What is the impact of these projects on the food processing sector?

Rep. The ministry is implementing an Agro-Industrial Group (APC) infrastructure program to create modern common food processing/preservation infrastructure for food processing/preservation units. The program is similar to the Mega Food Park program, but on a much smaller scale, as the area of ​​the APC is 10 acres compared to the 50 acres required for the Mega Food Park. This is why this program is also called Mini Food Park (MNFP). The Ministry has approved 68 mini food parks of which 12 are operational, giving a processing and conservation capacity of 4.07 MT. A total capacity of 19.65 lakh metric tons will be added to this area upon completion of all the projects. The Ministry of Food Processing Industries is implementing the Mega Food Park Scheme (MFPS), a component program under PMKSY, to create a modern infrastructure for the food processing sector along the value chain, from farm to market. Under this program, the ministry has approved 41 Mega Food Park projects. Of this number, 23 parks are operational. The scheme was abolished by the government with effect from 1 April 2021, with the provision of liabilities incurred for ongoing projects. The processing and preservation capacity of 28.69 lakh tons was expanded by the operating units of the Mega Food Park program. Apart from this, 59,277 farmers have benefited from the scheme and 6.6 lakh jobs have been created.

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