Rating the new Industrial and Business Development Policy-2017 of Punjab government as excellent, the leading industrial giants in food processing sector said that the conducive environment and ease of business has become a reality in Punjab.Elated from the policy, the Pepsico India and ITC Limited have announced to expand their operations in the state in the agro-food processing sector.Rinkesh Satija from PepsiCo India told the Industry and Commerce Minister Sunder Sham Arora that it is going to invest in snacks business in the Punjab and more units will be coming up here.He appreciated Punjab Government, its new business policy and holding first of its kind Punjab Agri and Food Conclave in partnership with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).He suggested such conclaves should be held on a regular basis to give more attention to this sector.Sanjay Singhal from ITC Limited told that the company has recently launched new juices products, biscuits and soon, it is going to invest in the dairy sector. He also suggested enhancing the production of fruits and vegetables in the state.
Bhavdeep Sardana from Sukhjit Starch & Chemicals Limited also hailed the effort of Punjab government and revealed they are setting up a Mega Food Park in Phagwara and urged the minister to increase maize production in the state rather than rice and wheat.Akshay Bector of Cremica Food Industries Limited added that apart from new business policy, the abolishment of the truck unions by the state government is one of welcoming step. He also welcomed the holding of Agri and Food Conclave.Later, Industry and Commerce Minister Sunder Sham Arora said that during 2016-17 agriculture and allied activities contributed 27.38% to the state GDP. Further, with total cultivable area of 4.2 million hectares, Punjab constitutes only 3% of the net area sown in the country and this small area produces 19% of wheat, 10% of rice, 10% of milk, 20% of honey, 48% of mushroom & 5% of cotton in the country, he addedHe told that as the state strives to become a destination for food processing industry and a global leader in the export of value-added Agri-produce, this conclave would serve as a platform to deliberate on new drivers of growth including Agro marketing reforms, development of agri-infrastructure, mega food parks in Punjab.Later in afternoon, a session was organized on opportunities and challenges in food sector which focused majorly on problems being faced by the industry in this sector and speakers dwelled on how state can provide project development support to the private sector entrepreneurs in leveraging assistance available under various schemes like Cold Chain, Kisan Sampada Yojna, Agro Clusters and others. The final session was focused on developing linkages in the food chain.