Minister of state for Industries & Commerce, Sajjad Ahmad Kichloo today underlined the significance of food processing industry in the state, stating that the sector has the potential to become beacon of industrial development in J&K.
The Minister said this while inaugurating a seminar on “National Mission on Food Processing and Capacity Building”. More than 100 entrepreneurs participated in the seminar here today. The programme organized by SIDCO in association with National Skills Foundation of India was aimed to make entrepreneurs aware about National Mission on Food Processing and to train and sensitize them on vital issues related to food processing.
Commissioner/Secretary, Industries & Commerce, Shant Manu, Director, Union Ministry of Agriculture, Ravi Kumar, CEO of National Skill Development Foundation, Satyendra Arya, Director Industries & Commerce, Jammu, Gulzar Qureshi, MD SIDCO, Muhammad Muazzam and MDs of J&K Cements, SICOP, JKI, EDI & KVIB were present on the occasion.
Addressing the gathering, the Minister emphasized the need to provide fillip to the food processing sector by making certain technical interventions to boost the industry, an official statement said. “The topography of the state is conducive to support food processing industry provided we make a few effective technical interventions. Capacity building and use of modern technology can go a long way in the growth of food sector in the State,” he added. The Minister also said the sector offered huge potential in terms of employment generation. “The Food Processing Sector contributes 7 per cent to the country’s GDP and provides employment to about 13 million people directly,” he said, asking the youth to lap up the opportunities in this growing sector. Referring to the strong advantages the State has in terms of climate and soil, the Minister urged the prospective entrepreneurs to focus attention on fruit processing sector.
“J&K is the highest temperate fruit producing state in the country. After tourism, the fruit industry is the most important industry in the State. So we have no dearth of quality raw material available with us,” he said, adding the diverse agro-climatic conditions facilitated growth of different kinds of fruits and vegetables.
Calling upon the participants to make use of the training to be imparted by experts in food processing during various Technical Sessions, the Minister said under National Mission on Food Processing, funding and loans to set up new food processing units and modernization of existing units will be provided.
Earlier, in his address, Shant Manu, gave detailed description of the package of incentives being offered to the entrepreneurs in the State.
He informed the Minister about the collaboration of the State Industries Department with National Skill Foundation of India and various other Central Government agencies to increase the capacity of the entrepreneurs.