The central government has given approval for 30 mega food parks across the country, Food Processing Industries secretary Rakesh Kacker said here Wednesday."The mega food park scheme has received good response with 13 such parks being under various stages of implementation. Out of these, seven food parks each located in Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam and Tripura and two in West Bengal are at an advanced stage of completion and expected to be operational soon," he said.Kacker was speaking at the the National Summit on 'Mega Food Parks: An Investment Destination' organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries and the Food Processing Industries ministry.It was attended by policy makers, industry members and experts on food processing.Kacker said the investment in food processing industry is set to grow with the decentralisation of the approval process."As per the National Food Processing Mission launched on April 1, 2012, project assessment can be sanctioned by the state government itself. Further, 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) is permitted in the food processing sector," he said.Kacker said the government has accorded food processing industry the status of a sunrise sector and initiated several policy measures for creation of infrastructure, cold chain development and sanctioned various schemes for modernisation of the sector."The mega food park scheme is expected to see a combined investment of about Rs 7,000 crore over 30 centres," he said.He said the allocation for food processing industry will go up in coming years, from the present level of Rs.660 crore during the current fiscal.The Mega Food Park scheme is envisaged to be set up on the hub and spoke pattern. The core processing facilities would be located in a central area with processing plants spread over peripheral areas.Ideally one mega food park would serve as a cluster of about four districts. The central processing centre would have dry warehouses, cold chain infrastructure, irradiation centre and facilities for sorting, grading and packaging.The Mega Food Park project is expected to bring large scale benefits to farmers as well as consumers, by addressing key infrastructure and supply-chain management challenges.
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