Vijay C Roy
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 14
The food processing sector in Punjab is likely to get impetus as the third mega food park will be partially operational in the state by next week. Set up at an investment of Rs 135 crore in Phagwara, Sukhjit Mega Food Park & Infra Ltd will create a huge demand for maize. The company will set up a maize-processing facility with a daily grinding capacity of 600 tonnes.
“We are hopeful of commencing operations by the third week of October. As the demand is sluggish amid the pandemic, we will utilise only 60% of our installed capacity initially and scale up production later,” said Bhavdeep Sardana, CEO, Sukhjit Starch & Chemicals Ltd.
It is anticipated that this park, besides improving the eco-agricultural system of the state will also supplement the state’s efforts in crop diversification by breaking the wheat-paddy cycle.
Currently, the state has a food park in Fazilka which is operational. It was set up by International Mega Food Park Ltd with an investment of around Rs 140 crore. The second park set up by Punjab Agro Industries Corporation in Ludhiana (with an investment of Rs 120 crore) is partially operational. These facilities will not only attract investment in the food processing sector but also benefit farmers of the region. Once all the three parks are fully operational, they will play a pivotal role in increasing the farmers’ income and promoting crop diversification.
The growing demand for the processed and convenience food is creating a demand for modified starch. According to Sardana, the food processing sector will continue to do well and demand will pick up eventually. “We see a wider adoption of ready-to-eat food, takeaways, foods having long shelf life and more importantly packaged and safe foods,” he said.