Union minister of state for food processing industries Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti has said expansion of food processing sector will help alleviate the farm distress that often leads to farmers' suicide.
She was addressing a seminar on 'Make in Madhya Pradesh: Investment destination for food processing sector' in Indore on Friday. The event was organised by PHD Chambers of Commerce.
At present, eight food parks are in various stages of development in Madhya Pradesh. The minister said two new food parks will be set up in MP besides one mega food park being set up by the Ruchi Group in Dewas.
"India is increasingly adopting modern farming techniques, but not even 2% of the agriculture produce is processed and so farmers are not getting proper remuneration," she said.
In 2008-09, the Union government had announced plans to build mega food parks across the country, each measuring 30-50 acres, with the help of private and public sector.
The idea was that each would grow into a cluster, where facilities for food processors, farmers, retailers and exporters would be available at one place, helping in faster growth of food processing industries.
Stressing on the need for increasing the processing capacity of soybean, the minister said that children do not get nutritious meal in anganwadis and in fact animals get to eat far more nutritious meal (in the form of soya meal which is used as animal feed).
State horticulture and food processing minister Kusum Singh Mehdele also spoke about the importance of setting up small food processing units such as potato chips.
State horticulture and food processing department director MS Dhakad gave an outline of the government's policy for promoting the food processing sector. SSP Pvt Ltd managing director Tapas Chatterjee and PHD Chamber senior vice president Mahesh Gupta also addressed the seminar.
'Was Rahul sleeping for four years?'
Speaking on the controversy over Amethi food park, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti said that the then UPA government did not take any action for many years that led to scrapping of the project.
"What was Rahul Gandhi doing from 2010 to 2014? Was he sleeping?" she said in reply to a query, while talking to reporters on the sidelines. The issue had rocked the Parliament in May with Rahul Gandhi and the Congress accusing the NDA of "vendetta politics" for scrapping the project.