Investments in last two years have touched Rs. 4,000 crore, says official

Andhra Pradesh is fast emerging as the food processing hub in the country, with about 200 units coming up in the last two years attracting an investment of about Rs. 4,000 crore, A.P. Food Processing Industries Federation president Potluri Bhaskara Rao has said.

Speaking at a workshop for entrepreneurs in the sector organised by the Agri Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), SBI and other nodal agencies, here on Friday, he said one lakh new jobs had been generated in the sector.

“Some13 food parks comprising 10 to 15 units each are coming up in the State,” he said.

Mr. Bhaskara Rao complimented the State government for formulating suitable policies and making separate budgetary allocation of Rs. 300 crore to the food processing sector.

Collateral-free loan

“This is the right time for investing in the sector as both the State and Centre are supporting it. The banks are also ready to provide collateral-free loans up to Rs. 1 crore,” Mr. Bhaskara Rao told the entrepreneurs.

Participating in the programme, District Industries Centre (Visakhapatnam) General Manager A. Ramlingeswara Raju said the government has announced its intention to set up a MSME (micro, small, medium enterprise) Park each in all 175 Assembly constituencies.

“So far, 31 MSME Parks have been set up, including the two in Visakhapatnam district and the ones at Gurrampalem and Rachapalli. Entrepreneurs in food processing sector can obtain land for their units in these parks,” Ramlingeswara Raju said, adding that clearances are being given through a single window system in just 21 days.

Representing the APEDA, Dharma Rao threw light on various schemes for setting up agri- processing units. Deputy Director-General of Foreign Trade Alok Dwivedi said MSMEs should also focus on exports and foreign trade, not confining themselves to domestic markets only. SBI AGM Sudhakar Peluri said that MSMEs in the food processing sector as well as others could now obtain collateral-free loans up to Rs. 1 crore online through public sector banks, by providing the requisite data within just 59 minutes.

“The Centre has launched the 100-day programme on November 2 for the benefit of MSMEs who should make the most of it,” he said and explained the process of obtaining online sanction through the portal: www. psbloansin59minutes.com.

K. Srinivasulu, am expert from Central Food Technology Research Institute (CFTRI), spoke about the potential for setting up units in various segments of the sector.

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