Mega plan to boost agri exports proposed; AEZs to be connected

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, Oct 21 | Updated: Oct 22 2007, 04:30am hrs
A number of agri exports zones (AEZs) spread across the country can now be assured of proper logistical support for their activity. A joint study done by the Agriculture and Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA) and ICRA Management Consulting Services Ltd has proposed 12 growth centres or hubs connecting a number of AEZs at an estimated investment of Rs 15,000 crore.

AEZs now numbering 60 are dotted over the country, some in very remote areas. Some of the identified hubs areRai in Sonepat district and close to Delhi to connect AEZs in Punjab and Haryana, Agra in UP and on the proposed Golden Quadrilateral, Dharampuri near Bangalore, Kolkata to connect AEZs in West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar and northeastern India, Guwahati in Assam, Muzafarpur on the Golden Quadrilateral in Bihar and Mumbai, Nasik, Pune and Nagpur connecting AEZs in Maharashtra.

This project calls for investments by all stakeholdersthe central and state government agencies and the private sector. The project ensures collection centres providing post-harvest management, storage facilities, value addition centres at points and then transportation reefer containers and vans to the identified hubs. The hubs would ultimately be connected to the air and sea ports, said the APEDA chairman, KS Money

Money said APEDA has initiated the process of setting up of the state-of-the-art centres for perishable cargo at 11 airports in collaboration with multiple stakeholders.

A MoU has been signed with the Gujarat Agro Industries Corporation and Concor for setting up of a centre for perishable cargo at Ahmedabad airport at an investment of Rs 2.5 crore. The project which is fully funded by APEDA is expected to be completed by July 2008.

Amritsar airport will have a similar facility with an estimated investment of Rs 30 crore for which a MoU has been signed with the Punjab governments agency, PAGREXCO. A MoU has been signed between APEDA and AAI for setting up of a centre for perishable cargo at Dum Dum airport, Kolkata at an estimated investment of Rs 2.53 crore. This project is expected to be completed by December 2007.

The existing centre for perishable cargo at Thiruvananthapuram airport is being upgraded at an investment Rs 65 lakh by the Kerala State Industrial Enterprise Ltd, while APEDA has signed a MoU with Cochin International Airport for setting up of a similar facility at an investment of Rs 23.95 crore.

The project for setting up of a centre for perishable cargo at Bagdogra airport in collaboration with West Bengal food processing industries and horticulture department at an investment of Rs 2.99 crore is expected to be completed by March 2008. Also a similar facility at Goa airport being set up by Concor is expected to be completed by this period at an investment of Rs 2.13 crore. Concor and HAL are expected to complete a similar project at Nashik airport by March 2008.

A MoU has been signed by APEDA with the West Bengal government for setting up of a centre for perishable cargo at Haldia sea port with an investment of Rs 5.561 crore. APEDA has sanctioned Rs 19 lakh to RSAMB for setting up of a walk-in-cold room at Jaipur airport. Similar facility is under consideration for Guwahati airport. Walk-in-cold stores are also being set up at Aizwal, Dimapur, Imphal and Agartala airports. Besides common packhouse facilities have been approved for agro produces in Maharashtra, Assam and Chhattisgarh and mechanized handling facilities for egg washing, sorting and grading at Saroor Nagar in Andhra Pradesh.