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Micro processing & reaching time of vegetables & fruits from Punjab to other states to get boost :Min

Micro processing & reaching time of vegetables & fruits from Punjab to other states to get boost :Min

Chandigarh, May 16 (UNI) Union food processing industries minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal Saturday said micro food processing as well as movement of vegetables and fruits would get a huge boost in Punjab with the union government providing 10,000 crore to help two lakh micro food units achieve FSSAI standards besides allocating Rs 500 crore to restore vegetable and fruit supply chains.

In a statement here on Saturday, Ms Harsimrat Badal said both initiatives, which had been disclosed by the union finance minister Friday, would go a long way in adding value to food grains, vegetable and fruit processing and dairy products in Punjab besides ensuring more profits for farmers due to easy and subsidised movement of vegetables and fruits across the country.

Ms. Badal said the scheme for micro processing units would provide back ended credit linked subsidy to 1.10 lakh units besides giving Seed capital to SHGs (@Rs. 4 lakh per SHG) for loan to members for working capital and small tools. “A special grant will also be provided to FPO’s for backward and forward linkages, common infrastructure, packaging, marketing and branding, besides providing skill training and handholding support to the micro enterprises for their expansion and upgradation.

Ms. Badal said another scheme announced yesterday by Finance minister Nirmala Seetharaman envisaged giving a boost to the agri sector by providing working capital to farmers and helping set up farm gate infrastructure. Ms. Badal said this would also result in the creation of more Punjab brands and also help farmer producer organisations, self help groups and cooperatives to achieve business success.

The union minister said the Rs 500 crore allocated for restoring vegetable and fruit supply chains which have been disrupted due to COVID -19 would also help vegetable growers and horticulturists immensely. He said in a new initiative the Operation Green scheme was also being extended from Tomatoes, Onions & Potato (TOP) to all vegetables and fruits with 50 per cent subsidy being given on transportation from surplus to deficient markets and storage including cold storage. She said the scheme, if tapped properly, could bring a sea change in both the rural and urban economies.

Speaking about potential employment generation opportunities through above schemes, the Union minister said both schemes would generate employment for around nine lakh people in the farm sector. “The MFEs project is likely to generate five lakh skilled and semi-skilled jobs with widening the area of its retail and global markets by expanding as well upgrading the micro businesses,” Ms Badal added.

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