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            Eastern states stagger in food processing

            While the southern states have shown encouraging progress in bringing up food processing industries, the sloth eastern states were a cause of worry for the government.

            “ The southern states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have shown encouraging progress in availing central government schemes to promote food processing units but slow progress in eastern states was really a cause of worry,” minister for food processing industries Subodh Kant Sahai said.

            “Unless and until we register good progress of food processing industries in states like Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal the drive to increase volume of processing of fruit & vegetables from 11 % now to 25% by 2015 would be a difficult task,” Sahai said.

            Sahai said his ministry was focusing on these laggard states by writing to the governments there to pull up their socks and also through intensified campaign.

            In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Sahai had rolled out statistics to show the projects his ministry had approved.

            “A total of 41 projects were sanctioned for Andhra Pradesh in 2009-10,” the minister said. In Karnataka, 24 projects were given a green signal while 41 projects in Tamil Nadu and 33 in Kerala also received a go-ahead during the period.

            On the other hand, there were only two projects in Bihar, six in Orissa and 10 in West Bengal in the last financial year.

            The scenario was still more gloomy in the north-eastern states. While there were only three projects approved in Arunachal Pradesh in 2009-10, it was six in Manipur, two in Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland had one each, Tripura and Sikkim had none.

            Joint secretary in food processing industries, Ajit Kumar said that his ministry had undertaken intensified publicity drive in the eastern states to educate farmers about virtues of the food processing units to further their income.

            “Camps were organised at Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga in Bihar and Orissa's capital Bhubneswar recently to popularise the food processing scheme which promised hefty monetary assistance for opening a unit,” he added.

            Source: http://www.fnbnews.com/article/detnews.asp?articleid=28884&sectionid=2