Odisha woos food processing entrepreneurs

Bhubaneswar: Despite Odisha ranks fourth among the vegetable producing states in the country, its food processing rate stands at a meager 0.7 per cent. To promote the food processing industry and attract attention of major industry players including budding entrepreneurs, the State government decided to take the subsidy route to woo them. 
While 25% subsidy will be given to set up a food processing unit, the subsidy percentage will increase to 33 in case of SC, ST and women entrepreneurs and investors in KBK region, according to the decision taken in a Cabinet meeting here on Wednesday.
However, the amount of subsidy has been restricted to Rs two crore. Besides, these units will also be exempted from value added tax (VAT) for ten years since their inception.
It was also decided in the Cabinet that mega food park entrepreneurs will get a subsidy at the rate of 20 per cent.
The state government hopes these measures will help Odisha to increase its food processing rate to at least 25% in next few years.
Earlier this month Chief minister Naveen Patnaik laid the foundation stone for a Rs 104 crore mega food park at Bhujbul in Rayagada district. The project, expected to be completed in a year hopes to create employment for around 30,000 people directly and indirectly. 
Almost all the agriculture and horticulture products, including the minor forest products would be processed in the park for export purposes.
Infrastructure facilities like cold storage, effluent treatment plant (ETP) and storage and packing system will also be available in the park.