P. Sujatha Varma

Thrust to information technology triggers flurry of activity in the industrial sector

Some places identified as having high potential for food processing, textile and pharmaceutical unitsA mango industrial park is under consideration

VIJAYAWADA: The Government's decision to provide a fillip to potential areas as part of its drive to steer the State on to the path of development has sent right signals to entrepreneurs waiting in wings to take the plunge in Krishna district.

Thrust to information technology has triggered a flurry of activity in the industrial sector indicating eagerness of the investors to launch new ventures here. Some places in the district have been identified as having high potential for development of food processing, textile and pharmaceutical units. For instance, setting up of a mango industrial park somewhere close to Vijayawada where mango-growing activity is concentrated is being actively considered by the departments concerned.

Land identified

"Following encouraging response from the investors within and outside the State, we have identified over 100 acres of land near Tiruvuru for parties interested in setting up food processing units," says zonal manager of the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation A. V. Ramakrishna. These parks would house all processing units of the fruit, for instance mango-pulp manufacturing, jam, jelly, pickle, juice etc, he says.

Farmers in Krishna district grow mango in 60,000 hectares and produce nearly six lakh tonnes of the fruit every year. Banginapalli or benishan variety has great demand abroad. Last year, 400 metric tonnes of the produce was exported.

Around 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes of the produce is transported from the Nunna mango market yard to Azadpur mandi in New Delhi. Similarly, nearly 30 to 35 rakes of the fruit (one rake is equal to 40 wagons X 26 tonnes) are sent from the Nuzvid railway station.

Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai are major mango importing countries. Farmers send the remaining stocks to places like Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana. "Some buyers directly lift the stocks from our local fruit markets. The Chand fruit company, Sangli in Maharashtra, is one of our potential buyers and lifts nearly 50 tonnes of the fruit," says deputy director of the Horticulture Department R. Vidyabhushan.

Officials in the district feel that processed food sector is poised for growth, mainly through exports. If current infrastructure-related problems are minimized and product and packaging quality are significantly improved, Krishna district can become a potential exporter of processed food, they feel.

Other food processing industries the administration is working out on include pickles and sugarcane. Besides, vegetable cold storages can be encouraged in a big way so that export opportunity is explored.