Lukewarm response to scheme for food processing units


 The response from Goans, especially those engaged in food processing sector, to the National Mission on Food Processing (NMFP) – a centrally sponsored scheme – during 2012-13 has been rather subdued with less than a dozen entrepreneurs and non-government organisations coming forward to avail the benefit under the scheme.
With just six entrepreneurs engaged in cashew processing, three NGOs (for availing benefit under Human Resource Development scheme) and two (for Entrepreneurship Development Programme) coming forward to avail the benefit in the first year of the scheme in the state, the response according to the department of industries, trade and commerce (DITC) officials is not as expected.
The DITC officials feel that the NMFP could help the state in fighting the growing unemployment and migration to urban areas. The officials said that most of the applicants have sought to modernize their existing units besides seeking to create additional facilities and generate employment.
Surprisingly, none from the fishing industry, bakery units or dairy farming have come forward to avail the benefit, said the officials adding that those interested in availing the benefit under the scheme could get funds upto Rs 10 crore and get 50 per cent subsidy. “Things could change once the first ever benefits were disbursed and the word goes around,” the officials said.
There are also no takers for the schemes from among owners of poultry units, meat chops, abattoirs, etc. Besides, though government departments, subsidiaries and other autonomous bodies could also avail the benefits, none has responded so far. The horticulture corporation of the state government could also avail benefits to set up a chain of cold rooms and other related facilities.
The major programmes/schemes covered under NMFP are: scheme for technology up-gradation, establishment/modernisation of food processing industries and a scheme for cold chain, value addition and preservation infrastructure for non-horticultural products, informed a senior DITC official.
The official also said that there was also a scheme for human resource development under which teaching institutions and universities could avail loans for creation of infrastructural facilities for running degree, diploma or certificate courses in food processing technology.
There is also a provision for setting/undertaking entrepreneurship development programme and food processing training centres under the scheme, informed the official adding that another scheme under the mission was for promotional activities like organising seminars, workshops, conducting studies, surveys, support to exhibitions/fairs and advertisement and publicity.
The officials of the department of industries, trade and commerce are hoping that Goan entrepreneurs, especially those in the fishing and fish processing sector, would avail the benefit under the scheme as it enters the second year in the upcoming financial year. The disbursement of the benefits would take place next week, informed the officials. [NT]