Odisha will be hub of agro & food processing in east: Official

Bhubaneswar: With the country’s agro and food processing sector is expected to reach a size of USD 530 billion by 2020, Odisha has been facilitating creation of an ideal business eco-system to make the state a hub in the eastern region, an official said Wednesday.

The state has also made related infrastructure for sustainable, equitable and inclusive growth of the sector to add value and reduce wastage, thereby maximising employment opportunity and increase income of the farmers, Industries Secretary Sanjeev Chopra said.

“Among 6 focus sectors of Odishas Industrial Development Plan 2025, we have received maximum investment proposals from investors in food processing and seafood sectors,” Chopra said. Khurda district has already become home to many national and international brands in food processing.

As the state government has been giving clearances within 15-30 days of receiving complete proposals, “we are confident of making Odisha the hub for food processing and seafood companies in eastern India in the next few years, Chopra said.

Odisha is the fourth largest vegetable producing state in the country and a long coastline of 480 km. The state is also one of the major seafood processing hubs of the country.

With availability of raw materials, 10 agro-climatic zones, agriculture resources, sea food, farming landscape, adequate cold storage capacity and easy connectivity to ASEAN region, Odisha has all the ingredients required for the food processing & seafood sector to flourish in the state, he said.

Additionally, the MITS Mega Food Park at Rayagada has been developed with an investment of Rs 80 crore. The park has become functional with anchor investor LT Foods (Daawat Group) operationalising its rice processing mill recently.

Land has already been allocated to many companies, he said.

Odisha has largely been concentrating on marine exports which is also reflected in the almost 100 per cent jump in value of marine exports in 2014 and and 27 per cent jump in 2015 over previous year.

The state has also launched a Food Processing Policy 2013, besides earmarking specific subsidies for mega food parks in its Industrial Policy, 2015. Odisha has set a target of 25 per cent food processing by 2025 and marine exports of Rs 10,000 crore by 2020, the official said.

The state government has largely been concentrating on marine exports. The Seafood Park at Deras (outskirts of Bhubaneswar) is being operationalised with an investment of Rs 134 crore. The units will be processing fish, shrimps and prawns for domestic and overseas markets, the official said.

Odisha has already witnessed an inflow of major companies like Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Private Limited (HCCBPL),  Britannia, Parle Agro,  ITC Ltd and Indo-Nissin and others.

As per the recent study, the total investment opportunities in agro and food processing sector in Odisha is Rs 12 billion with a potential to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11 per cent.

With more than 25,000 food & allied MSMEs and around 1.3 lakh people employed in the sector, the state government has taken large strides to make the state an ideal investment destination for agro & food processing sector, he said.