Teli said that currently to set up a mega food park the requirement was to have minimum 50 acre of land. “In hill states, its not possible to have land bank on 50 acres, so we are exploring to change the policy. In places like Jammu and Kashmir or the north east states, mini food parks spread on 25-30-acre land will be successful,” he said.
The minister said that businessmen from the state of Jammu and Kashmir have approached him with proposals to set food park. “There is a huge untapped opportunity in the state and 2-3 food park can come up in the state. Farmers will get higher returns,” he said.
The minister said that they were providing a capital grant at the rate of 50 percent of the eligible project cost in general areas and at the rate of 75 percent of eligible project cost in difficult and hilly areas of north east region including Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand subject to a maximum of Rs 50 crore per project.
In the past too, Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has said that instead of setting up mega food parks, the government could consider clusters covering one to three locally produced commodities as it could prove more beneficial for farmers.
The scheme of mega food parks, started in 2008, provides modern infrastructure facilities for the food processing industry along the value chain from the farm to the market. The main feature of the scheme is cluster-based approach, with a minimum requirement of 50 acres of land. Under the scheme, 42 projects have been sanctioned by the government and out of these, 16 food parks are currently operational.
The parks also ensure maximizing value addition, minimizing wastage, increasing farmers income and creating employment opportunities particularly in rural sector.