GUWAHATI, Feb 23 - Assam could be a goldmine for the food processing sector and there should be a serious attempt to start a mass movement of food processing in the State.
This was stated by Ravi Capoor, Additional Chief Secretary, Industries and Commerce, while delivering his speech as chief guest at a conference christened ‘Make in India and FDI in Retail: Opening Bright Avenues for Food Processing Sector’, organised by the PHD Chamber with the support of the Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries at the NEDFi Convention Centre here today.
Capoor said the State government has decided to establish 500 primary processing plants for farmers to initiate a food processing movement in Assam. He said five food parks would be set up in different places of Assam to support the primary processing plants.
In his theme address, Mowsam Hazarika, Assistant Director (Horticulture & Food Processing), said Assam is in the midst of two important biodiversity hotspots – Eastern Himalayas and Indo-Myanmar.
“The State is endowed with favourable agro-climatic conditions that offer a wide range of options for farming as well as investment for marketing in the horticulture sector. The contributing factors include suitable agro-climatic condition with abundant natural resources for cultivation of diversified horticultural crops in all the seasons and proximity to emerging markets in India as well as in South East Asian countries. Guwahati being the gateway to the North East may be a hunting ground for those who consider the State as an ideal strategic location for investment in marketing sector, including value addition covering of horticultural crops and produces,” Hazarika said.
He added that Assam has a rich diversity in fruit crops. “In citrus, there are as many as 17 species, 53 varieties and 7 hybrids. Wild and semi wild species of mango and temperate fruits, particularly of the Rosaceae family occur in the State. In addition, quite a good number of traditional fruit crops like leteku (Baccaurea sapida), poniol (Flacourtia gangomos), nagatenga (Rhus semialata), etc., are found in the State,” Hazarika added.
Among other dignitaries who attended the event were MK Das, Director of IIE, and SK Hazarika, Regional Manager of PHD Chamber, North Eastern region.
The conference also focused on investment opportunities to help the food processing sector in the State.