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Cabinet nod for restructuring agro-food processing scheme

IANS | New Delhi |

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved the re-structuring of the Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters (Sampada), said a cabinet communique.

"The CCEA, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given approval for restructuring Sampada of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries under the new Central Sector Scheme for 2016-20, coterminous with the 14th Finance Commission cycle," said the statement here.

The Rs 6,000-crore Sampada is expected to leverage Rs 31,400-crore investment in handling 334-lakh tonne agro-produce, valued at Rs 104,125 crore, to benefit 20 lakh farmers and generate 530,500 direct/indirect jobs in the country by 2019-20.

As an umbrella scheme incorporating the Ministry's various schemes like Mega Food Parks, Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure, Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure, Sampada will supplement agriculture, modernise processing and decrease agri-waste.

It will also incorporate new schemes like Infrastructure for Agro-processing Clusters, Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages and Creation and Expansion of Food Processing and Preservation Capacities.

"Sampada will create modern infrastructure with supply chain management from farm gate to retail outlet, boost the food processing sector's growth across the country and help in providing better prices to farmers and in doubling their income," said the communique.

The food processing sector is an important segment of the Indian economy for its contribution to the GDP, employment and investment. The sector accounted for 9.1 and 8.6 per cent of Gross Value Added in the manufacturing and agriculture sectors during the fiscal 2015-16.

To arrest post-harvest losses of horticulture and non-horticulture produce, the Ministry has approved 42 Mega Food Parks and 236 Integrated Cold Chains for food processing along the value chain from the farm to the market.

Of the 42 food parks, 8 are operational and four more will start in three months. Of the 236 cold chains, 100 are operational.