Policy must for food and agro processing sector: VIA

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 22 Jun 2017 13:13:20


Business Bureau,

Regional players in the food and agro processing sector underscored the need to have a policy to bring prosperity. While giving suggestions to the State Government at a recently held inter regional committee round table discussion, prominent players in the sector and core committee members of the Vidarbha Industries Association (VIA) said that due to dearth of policy the food and agro processing sector has not progressed to the expected level.

“Food and agro processing units in states like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand are flourishing because the respective governments are providing various facilities to the entrepreneurs. But such scenario is missing here in Maharashtra,” said one of the VIA core committee members Arun Kumar Khobragade.

Khobragade said that over 800 rice mills located in Bhandara and Gondia were reeling under pressure because the mill owners were unable to face cut throat competition posed by the adjoining state of Chhattisgarh.
“Chhattisgarh is offering incentives to the paddy suppliers and also facilitated creation of warehouses in its territory. However, in Maharashtra, there is no such incentive,” he pointed out.

Raising another point, Khobragade said, the ‘rigid’ terms of power tariff applicable for the food and agro processing units are making sector ‘unprofitable business’.
Despite of the fact that most of the units in food and agro processing sector are seasonal, the industrialists have to pay minimum fixed charges on power for the entire year.
“Taking into account the typical nature of the sector, the Government should collect power charges only when the production is on,” he said.

Warun Rathi - another VIA core committee member - said disparity in cess levied by various agricultural produce marketing committees in the State is affecting bulk buyers of pulses - especially the millers.
He further stressed on revision of Essential Commodity Act and Storage Control Act.

“Apart from this, the Government should effectively handle fluctuations in prices of certain commodities and create a win-win situation for farmers, dealers and consumers. Recent hike in Tur Dal prices and its sharp fall in the current situation have been giving sleepless nights to many including the millers,” he said.

Bharat Khatrani, VIA core committee member said, the Government’s procurement of rice from the Bhandara and Gondia districts is not enough because of which rice miller located in the area are loosing business. “In Chhattisgarh, the government procures over 80 per cent of rice arriving in the local markets while in Bhandara and Gondia, the procurement is merely 10 per cent of the total arrival,” he said.