Calling for a pioneering revolution in the food processing sector in the state, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday sought the support of Union food processing ministry for formulating a “comprehensive action plan” to achieve the goal.
Interacting with a high-level team of Union food processing ministry in Chandigarh, Badal noted that the ministry, along with the state government, should formulate an ambitious plan within a month so that a big push could be given to the food processing sector in the state.
He said that the hard working and resilient farmers of the state had led to the country’s Green Revolution (foodgrain production), White Revolution (milk production) and Blue Revolution (fish production) and now it was time their indomitable spirit of entrepreneurship was channelised in the food processing sector.
Badal said the Punjabi farmers had made the state a leader in foodgrains production but it had reached a point of saturation.
In such a scenario, processing of foodgrains, meat, fish, milk, fruits, vegetables and other products could do wonders in supplementing the income of farmers, he said.
“I firmly believe that food processing is the panacea of all ills faced by the farmers,” he said.
The CM urged the representatives of the ministry to open demonstration-cum-training centres across the state to encourage farmers to take up food processing.
He said that these centres that will exhibit the techniques, ways and finished products, would act as a catalyst in making food processing a mass movement in the state.
Meanwhile, Badal also gave his nod for a tie-up between Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University and National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) for the introduction of courses in food processing.
To further boost the food processing sector in the state, he asked NIFTEM to explore the feasibility of setting up dedicated training centres for milk, fruits and vegetables, honey, fish and meat processing by becoming a technical knowledge partner of the state.
During the meeting, it was decided that 200 programmes would be held across the state from February to November at a cost of Rs 18 crore to impart highly skilled training to farmers.