Despite being considered as a gamechanger for food processing industry, the progress of Mega food parks has remained slow. Discuss.
Mega Food Parks (MFPs) provide a modern infrastructure facility for food processing along with a value chain from farm to market through a cluster-based approach. Currently, 22 MFPs are operational in India.
Mega Food Park as gamechanger for food processing sector:
- MFP scheme is based on a cluster-based approach and provided for:
- Well-established supply chain
- Modern technology
- Defined agriculture, Horticulture zones
- Well-defined support infrastructure
- Supply chain infrastructure consists of collection centers, primary processing centers, cold storage chains, etc.
- Could give a huge push to the already emerging sector of the food processing industry by providing forward/backward linkages to MSMEs in this sector.
- Scope of employment generation and regional development in the agricultural sector, thus doubling farmer’s income.
Reasons for the slow growth of Mega Food Parks:
- Promotors find it difficult to convince banks to provide loans.
- There are several regional disparities. Only five projects have been started in North East.
- Mandatory acquisition of 50 acres of land has been a hurdle.
- Since it’s a relatively newer concept, smaller units are reluctant to move base.
The recent initiative of the government like the formalization of micro food processing industries, the FOSCOS initiative of FSSAI to give licenses, and the one-district one-product approach can very well complement the development of the food processing sector in India. Along with the Horticulture Cluster Development initiative, Mega Food Parks can also take the help of cooperative societies and develop a large functional unit.