TAMIL NADU

Equity fund planned to start new agro and food processing units: D.P. Singh

FOCUS ON FOOD PROCESSING: ( From left): T. R. K. Ramakrushna Rajha, Chairman, IACC, Tamil Nadu Branch, Mark Russell, Consul-Commercial, American Consulate-General, Chennai, D. P. Singh, Secretary, Union Ministry of Food Processing and A. Sakthivel, C hairman, FIEO, southern region, at the seminar organised by Indo-American Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Indian Export Organisations (Southern Region) in Chennai on Thursday. — Photo: K. V. Srinivasan  

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Union Ministry of Food Processing is holding talks with the chairperson of NABARD and Exim Bank and the Department of Banking, to set up an equity fund for starting up new agro and food processing units, Secretary, Union Ministry of Food Processing, D.P. Singh, said here on Thursday.

Addressing a seminar on `Indian Food Processing Industry-Issues and Prospects,' Mr. Singh said these steps were taken by the Ministry to provide an impetus to the food processing sector. "We are exploring the possibility of creating an export marketing development fund for which a specialised wing is required in commercial banks, NABARD and Exim Banks."

The Ministry was in the process of securing feedback from trade bodies to facilitate early and easy financial assistance for entrepreneurs.

The seminar was organised by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, the South India Council and the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), Southern Region.

Mr. Singh appealed to the food processing unit exporters to improve quality and packaging standards before venturing into global markets.

He said the Union Ministry of Food Processing had already sent a note to State Governments to make suitable amendments in the Agriculture Produce Marketing Act to help establish a link between promoter and producer of raw materials.

Mark Russell, Consul-Commercial, American Consulate General, Chennai, appealed to entrepreneurs to make best use of the Commercial offices located in different parts of India for furthering trade ties between India and the United States.

G. Shanker, president, Madras Consultancy Group, gave an overview of the Indian Food Processing Industry. Chairman of FIEO, A. Sakthivel, highlighted the growth potential of the food-processing sector and urged the Centre and State Governments to be more pro-active.

T.R.K. Ramakrushna Rajha, chairman of the chamber, Tamil Nadu Branch, said it would focus on industry-specific topics such as hygienic practices, global quality management systems, import of U.S. machinery, food packaging, herbal and organic goods and success stories in the food processing sector.