A unique feature of the mission is that it offers colleges financial grant of up to Rs. 75 lakh for offering courses in food processing

The Dakshina Kannada District Food Processing Mission has come into force under the Union government’s National Mission on Food Processing. A unique feature of the mission is that it offers colleges financial grant of up to Rs. 75 lakh for offering courses in food processing and setting up food processing units on a pilot basis.

Mune Gowda N., Deputy Director, Department of Horticulture, Dakshina Kannada, and Member-Secretary of the district mission, told The Hindu that the district mission, a 11-member body, came into being recently. It is headed by Deputy Commissioner N. Prakash. The National Mission on Food Processing had come into force under the 12th Plan.

Mr. Gowda said that colleges or universities would have to submit a project proposal to the district mission to avail the grant. The institutes could offer certificate, diploma, and degree or post-graduate courses on food processing. They could purchase books, e-journals, set up laboratories, and purchase laboratory equipment. The institutes could set up a pilot plant of food processing. The project proposal should encompass all the components.

He said the government would provide 10 per cent to 20 per cent (with a ceiling of Rs. 75 lakh) of the project cost to the universities after the government approved the project. It would be a one-time grant. Mr. Gowda said an autonomous college in the city had submitted a proposal to the district mission seeking grant as it had proposed to offer a post-graduate course in food processing. He said the mission offered financial grant for entrepreneurs for setting up new food processing units or upgrading the technology of their existing food processing units. The assistance would be up to 25 per cent of the project cost with a maximum ceiling of Rs. 50 lakh. It provided 50 per cent assistance of the project cost with a maximum ceiling of Rs. 10 crore for setting up cold storage units, value addition units, and to purchase refrigerated vans which support supply chain development.

The non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or any other identified institutes or bodies which promoted food processing activities through seminars, workshops, training programmes, exhibitions, and tours could avail from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 3 lakh. There would be a one-year follow up of the activities of the beneficiary institutes or bodies. For example, if an institute trained 20 candidates in food processing, how many of them had ventured into food processing would be monitored for one year. He said that in addition to horticulture produce, the food processing activities applied to fish, meat, and dairying.

Mr. Gowda said as the financial year 2012-13 would end in three months, the mission now would focus on promotional activities for the remaining months in the district.

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