S. Vydhianathan

It unveils a slew of incentives to promote investment

Agro-economic zones to be promoted for food processing

Clusters planned at Ramanathapuram, Namakkal, Erode

CHENNAI: The State government has come out with a new agro and agro-processing industrial policy to raise the share of processed food in the market from 1 per cent to 10 per cent and value addition levels from 7 per cent to 30 per cent.

It offers a slew of incentives to promote investment in agriculture, mainly to generate large-scale employment for semi-skilled and unskilled persons.

The government issued an order on Friday, as a follow-up to the new industrial policy announced recently.

According to the order, the government will promote special agro-economic zones for food processing, agro-based industries and dairy products, besides the agro-processing clusters in industrial parks and special economic zones. To provide road and air connectivity to the marketing centres, agro-food parks and agri-export zones, a plan will be drawn up and implemented over five years.

The agro-processing clusters will be set up at Ramanathapuram for meat and seafood, Namakkal (poultry products), Erode (turmeric), Salem (sago), Tiruchi (bananas), Krishnagiri (mangoes) and Theni (milk products and grapes).

The government will create the Tamil Nadu Agricultural Export Development Authority, in lieu of the Export Promotion Cell, to guide and provide assistance to exporters.

High-value crops

Special thrust will be laid on the scientific cultivation of high-value crops. For it, exemption from the Land Reforms Act will be granted on a case-to-case basis for setting up mega orchards over and above 50 hectares. Contract farming will be encouraged among agro processors to help farmers get better returns.

Agri biotechnology and agri-nanotechnology will be promoted for enhancing productivity, quality and value addition.

Incentives now available for the manufacturing industries under the State’s industrial policy will be applicable to agro and agro-processing industries, too. Stand-alone small and medium enterprises cold storages for agro-processing will get a power tariff subsidy of 30 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent in the first, second and third year of operation, and all new processing units will be exempted from tariff for 5 years from the date of commercial production. The Directorate of Agricultural Marketing and Agri Business will be the nodal agency for the agro and agro-processing industries, which serves as a single window clearance agency.