Kerala to be a favoured destination for Agro Processing: Experts

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Trivandrum: Kerala should be converted into a favoured destination for Agro Processing. This was the key takeaway at the MSME meet on Value Added Agriculture and Food Processing, organised jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) in Thiruvananthapuram today.

Opening the session, Dr. Babu Thomas, Vice Chairman, CII Thiruvananthapuram Zone said the food processing sector has become a catalyst for the development of Indian Agriculture and is of enormous significance to India’s development owing to the vital linkages and synergies that it promotes between the two pillars of our economy, industry and agriculture.

Shivdas Menon, Convenor, CII Agriculture & Food Processing Panel said CII should initiate Hi-tech agriculture mainly for vegetables and fruits, and value addition for the produce and processed food and packaging.

Ramesh Tenkil, CGM, NABARD, said that the food processing sector is also known as the sunrise sector and so there is a potential to make growth sustainable and this is because it is expected that processed food that is hygienic and convenient, will be the next boom. For this a new generation of agripreneurs needs to be developed.

Dr. M Beena IAS, MD, KSIDC said that Kerala’s food processing industry serves two markets – the fast emerging domestic market and the steady-growing export market. The Government’s industrial policy seeks to convert Kerala into a favoured destination for Agro Processing.

Dr. K Prathapan, Director, State Horticulture Mission said that no high value is given for agricultural products except for the high end processed and packed ones and hence the investment in investment in agriculture will come down.

Vinod Manjila, Partner, Manjilas Food Products, said that in the future, the modern kitchen will become non-existent and it will be processed food which will be taking over.

Alex Thomas, MD, Tierra Foods said that new trends in packaging have a very important role in creating functional and emotional value.

The meet concluded with a panel discussion of senior officials from Federal Bank, Canara Bank, SBI and SBT where they discussed that training has to be given to borrowers about the rules and regulations involved in taking a loan.

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