The state of West Bengal has always been gifted with a huge amount of natural resources which is significant to produce vast range of agricultural as well as horticultural products. But in order to avail benefits from these huge natural resources, it was necessary to lay down a common policy. Thus in the year 2011 came the policy of Food Processing to help set up businesses, processing units/industries, and to generate additional income for farmers as well as employment opportunities for inhabitants.
Main highlights of the policy:
Establishment of West Bengal Food Processing Development Council- The council has been set up to regularize various norms as well as to advice the state government on issues relevant to the food processing industry.
Simplification of laws and regulations- The policy indicates on making the law, government procedures, regulations lenient in order to help businesses to grow and to attract investors from within and outside the country.
Creating infrastructure- An inclusive infrastructure development plan has been put up to provide quick access to food parks, agriculture export zones linking with the nearest National Highway, marketing centres to market and promote the produce. At the same time, power distribution system has been strengthened to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the food processing units/industries.
Research & Development- special focus has been given to R&D to improve quality of the items produced as well as to the processing industries. Also, to encourage networking of organizations/stakeholders with research institutions to develop appropriate processing technologies as well as modernization/up-gradation of existing processing units.
Creating Cold Chain- The government has given focus to actively support for creating Cold Chain, pre and post-harvest network near the production sites to have best utilization of the facilities.
Facilitating export- The government plans to facilitate the export through Agro-Export Zones and Agro/Food Technology Parks.
- Processing units in remote areas are entitled for a 100% exemption from Electricity Duty for a period of 5 years.
- Agro Food Processing Industries those who purchase fruits and vegetables directly from the farmers (on partnership farming basis) are eligible to be exempted from payment of Market Fee under the APMC Act.
- Those small processing units who have a plant & machinery investment up to Rs. 5 lakh are eligible for a special incentive scheme of the government.
- Agro Food Processing Industries are eligible on certain condition basis to be exempted from payment of Conversion Fee when they purchase agricultural lands for establishing FPI industry/Food Park for a maximum of 100 acres of land in each case.
For more information, visit West Bengal Govt. official website