Baba Ramdev will be one of the most important investors at the Global Investors’ Summit starting in Indore on Saturday, as the yoga expert’s Patanjali Group has proposed two plants in Madhya Pradesh.
Amid the state economy’s major reliance on agriculture, a third of national and local investors are expecting investment in food-processing units to boost farming, experts said.
Local food-processing industrialists feel the prospective entry of a big investor like Patanjali will necessitate added investment on infrastructure of warehouse and cold storage. Below-par storage facilities led quintals of onion to rot this year, after the government procured the crop from farmers.
Industrialists feel near-absence of food-processing units left both farmers and government to bear losses. To develop agriculture industries in MP, local investors should be given a fair chance, they add.
“Investors from other states are being given preference in Madhya Pradesh. We get a step-motherly treatment,” said an industrialist. “There is a need to end this de-motivation”
Except Indus Food Park, a private enterprise, and Nigrani, all food parks of MP have failed to attract investors, he added.
Sanwaria Agro Product Limited’s Anil Agrawal stressed the need for better implementation of a policy formulated by the government to motivate local investors. “The administration is making best efforts to boost agriculture, but bureaucratic issues are checking the trickle-down of the benefits to farmers and local investors,” he noted.
“The investment in food-processing can come if the government starts forming clusters of food units in different areas.”
An Assocham study projected a huge opportunity to open units in Sehore to process wheat and paddy in Satna, besides fruits and vegetables in Ratlam and in Neemuch.
Right to food activist Sachin Jain said improvement of the economy required development of local markets by establishing processing units for farmers. “The government should think at the micro level by establishing small units,” he added.
The Industry growth in the food sector is possible only if small and marginal farmers are linked in the process of investment, Jain said.
“The government has been winning Krishi karman award for the past four years, but it would be a real matter of proud if farmers stopped committing suicide,” he added.