Staff Reporter

BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here on Friday said that Orissa would soon finalise the State Food Processing Policy.

Speaking at ASSOCHAM-IPICOL organised ‘Agri and Food Processors Conclave' on the inaugural day of the 6th Entrepreneurs Week 2010, Mr. Patnaik said a draft State Food Processing Policy had been circulated among all stakeholders for comments.

In fact, the Industrial Policy Resolution-2007 had identified Agro Processing Industries as a thrust sector and provided maximum scale of incentives to such industries based on simplified investment and employment criteria, he said.

Growth

Pointing out that 70 per cent of the population still earned its livelihood from agriculture and allied sector, the Chief Minister said the State had achieved considerable growth in the production of foodgrains, oil seed, pulses, fibres, fruits, vegetables and spices due to its rich bio-diversity and 10 agro climatic zones.

Conclave

Earlier, speaking at the conclave, Industries, Steel and Mines Minister Raghunath Mohanty said the State had over 43,000 small and medium enterprises in various segments and out of it, there were 23,000 agri and food processing SMEs currently operating.

Finance Minister Prafulla Chandra Ghadai said the State was preparing Industrial Policy Resolution (IPR)-2010 which would give a lot of exemptions as well as facilities to agro processing sector.

ASSOCHAM president Swati Piramal said that agri and food processing sector suffered due to absence of skilled manpower, difficulties in post-harvest technology and financial crunch. Investment was needed to be increased in the sector for meeting challenges of providing affordable food to citizens, Ms. Piramal said.

Study

According to ASSOCHAM study, in Orissa 9476 micro, small and medium enterprises had been set up under food and allied category at an investment of Rs. 321 crores and those units were able to generate employment for 66,803 persons.

Among others chief secretary Tarun Kanti Mishra, industries secretary Saurabh Garg and Member of Parliament Pyari Mohan Mohapatra and director of industries Hemant Sharma were present on the occasion.