Corporate firms, including Pantaloon, Temptation Foods, Capital Foods, Eldico and International Farm Fresh, have evinced interest in setting up mega food parks in the country. They responded to the expressions of interest (EoI) invited by the Ministry of Food Processing recently, sources said.

Of the 10 mega food parks proposed to be set up during the XI Plan only one, run by yoga guru Ramdev near Hardwar in Uttarakhand, has been completed. Five others are in various stages of being set up. The Ministry sought EoIs for the remaining four to be set up in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

An inter-departmental committee chaired by Food Processing Secretary Ashok Sinha will look at the proposals, the sources said. Representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Agriculture and the Planning Commission are also members of the panel.

Initially, the government had planned for 30 mega food parks in the XI Plan, but considering to the lukewarm response from the industry, this target was reduced to 10. The proposed mega food parks are aimed at reducing wastage of fruits and vegetables with processing at the core. They are expected to have integrated state-of-the-art backward and forward linkages with agriculture, horticulture, poultry, dairy and milk sector, increased private sector investments and support of rural infrastructure to ensure a steady supply of the produce. Mega food parks require a minimum investment of Rs. 150 crore with the government providing maximum Rs. 50 crore as grant to kick-start the parks. In addition, there are a slew of tax holidays as incentives to the private investor. Mega food parks are part of the food processing sector's vision to enhance processing of perishable foods from the present 6 per cent to 20 per cent, provide value addition from 20 per cent to 30 per cent.