Punjab Industry and Commerce Minister Sunder Sham Arora looks at vegetable stalls during the inauguration of Punjab Agri and Food Conclave at the Punjab Agricultural University campus in Ludhiana
Rating the new Industrial and Business Development Policy-2017 of the Punjab government as excellent, the leading industrial giants in food processing sector said conducive environment and ease of doing business had become a reality in the border state.
Elated from the policy, Pepsico India and ITC Limited have announced to expand their operations in the state in the agro-food processing sector.
Rinkesh Satija from PepsiCo India told Industry and Commerce Minister Sunder Sham Arora that the company was going to invest in snacks business in Punjab and more units would be coming up here. He appreciated the Punjab government, its new business policy and holding first of its kind Punjab Agri and Food Conclave in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana.
Satija suggested that such conclaves should be held on a regular basis to give more attention to the agro-food processing sector.
Sanjay Singhal from ITC Limited said the company had recently launched new juices and biscuits. “Soon, the company will invest in the dairy sector,” he added. He also suggested enhancing the production of fruits and vegetables in the state.
While hailing the efforts of the Punjab government, Bhavdeep Sardana from Sukhjit Starch and Chemicals Limited said, “We are setting up a Mega Food Park in Phagwara”.
He urged the commerce and industry minister to increase maize production in the state rather than that of rice and wheat. Akshay Bector of Cremica Food Industries Limited said apart from new business policy, the abolishment of truck unions by the state government was a welcoming step. He also appreciated holding of agri and food conclave.
Later, Industry and Commerce Minister Sunder Sham Arora said agriculture and allied activities contributed 27.38% to the state GDP during 2016-17.
“With total cultivable area of 4.2 million hectares, Punjab constitutes only 3% of the net area sown in the country. This small area produces 19% of wheat, 10% of rice, 10% of milk, 20% of honey, 48% of mushroom and 5% of cotton in the country,” he added.
Speakers dwelled in a session for opportunities and challenges in food sector and focused on problems faced by the industry in agro-food processing sector. Also discussed on how the state could provide project development support to private sector entrepreneurs. The final session focused on developing linkages in the food chain.