Amid growing focus on modernisation of agriculture to make it more sustainable and progressive for farmers, the Punjab government is set to leverage the upcoming Progressive Punjab Investors Summit 2019 to reach out to some of the world's leading FMCG companies for partnering the state in boosting the sector.
The summit comes at a time when the agriculture sector is in the limelight over the air pollution caused by stubble burning, and the state government is going all out to promote mechanisation to get rid of the paddy straw.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) is extending full support to the Punjab government in its efforts to build and strengthen a more sustainable agri sector, an official statement said on Sunday.
The summit will serve as a platform to promote new initiatives and adoption of technologies for the betterment of the agriculture sector through adoption of clean practices.
It will aim to enhance farmer incomes and helping them move up the value chain. The summit will also help garner support for the agri-focused startups that have come up in large numbers in the state over the past couple of years and have proved their merit at international platforms for their unique digital and sustainable agriculture solutions.
Top agriculture players like ITC, Godrej Tyson, Hariyalee Seeds, Spain's Congelados De Navarra and IFFCO have confirmed their participation in the summit, which will highlight the potential opportunities of growth in this sector as well as the strengths of the Punjab ecosystem, a government spokesperson told IANS.
Spain's Congelados De Navarra and IFFCO have, in fact, already entered a JV to set up their first food processing facility outside Europe.
With a committed investment of Rs 523 crore, the venture is set to support 10,000 farmers and procure 150,000 tonnes from farmers annually.
Steering this positivity in the sector is Punjab's Industrial and Business Development 2017 Policy, which identifies agriculture and food processing as thrust sectors and offers liberal incentives.
The state offers a strong infra ecosystem to facilitate the growth of the food processing plants through the three mega food parks at Fazilka, Ludhiana (Ladhowal) and Phagwara.
The state also houses 153 plus agriculture produce markets, 3,110 purchase centres and five agri export zones.
Punjab is also in the process of setting up primary processing centres at Abohar, Hoshiarpur, Amritsar and Talwandi Sabo to support the companies investing in the food parks.
Many leading companies have started harnessing the opportunity offered by the state to invest in the sector.
Varun Beverages' (Pepsi) first fully backward integrated facility, to produce PepsiCo's beverage portfolio items, became fully operational earlier this year, within 10 months of application to Invest Punjab.
Sukhjit Mega Food Park in Phagwara is investing Rs 152 crore for their maize processing facility, to help boost the state government's crop diversification efforts.
The Allana Group, India's largest exporter of processed food products and agro commodities, is coming up with a meat processing plant with Rs 125 crore in committed investment, while Verka Mega Dairy plant is being built with a total investment of Rs 358 crore.
Ludhiana Beverages (Coca Cola) is planning a further expansion of Rs 200-300 crore in Hoshiarpur and Lulu Group of the UAE has acquired an existing meat processing plant in Dera Bassi.
A large number of Punjab-based startups are making it big in the agriculture sector globally.