On Tuesday, Pashupati Kumar Paras, the Union Minister for Food Processing Industries said that the government aims for early completion of 19 Mega Food Parks in the country.
A Mega Food Park is a farming infrastructure project, particularly for rural areas, that brings together farmers, processors and retailers to connect agricultural production to the market. The objective is to maximize value addition, minimize wastage, increase farmers income and create employment. So far, 22 Mega Food Parks are operational across India in states like Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Mizoram, Tripura, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. The first Mega Food Park was established in Mizoram in July 2020 with the aim to employ 5000 people and help about 25000 farmers.
The Mega Food Park Scheme was introduced in 2008-09 to incentivise the food processing sector by value addition and every stage of the supply chain would be optimised to reduce food wastage, particularly for perishables. The goal is to build 41 Mega Parks.
Paras said that efforts are on to ‘boost value addition in 22 perishables like mango, banana, apple, pineapple, carrot, cauliflower, beans etc identified by the Ministry to supplement the income of farmers,’ according to a story published in ANI yesterday. The story was titled, Efforts are on for early completion of 19 Mega Food Parks in the country: Pashupati Kumar Paras. It highlighted that the government has announced expansion of scope of Operation Greens Scheme from tomato, onion and potato (TOP) to 22 perishable products, in the budget speech for 2021-2022. The Operation Greens Scheme adopts the fixed price approach so that farmers are given the right price for their produce.
As per the story, Paras claims there is a huge scope for Mini Food Parks in North Eastern Region and in North Bihar. He would visit Bihar on August 20 and conduct an on-the spot assessment of Mega Food Park at Mansi in Khagaria district of Bihar; about 70 percent work is complete on this site. The story reports that he would assess the progress of a Mega Food Park at Motipur block of Muzaffarpur district, approved by the Centre in April.