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Setting up of Agro Processing Cluster

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The Agro Processing Cluster Scheme, spearheaded by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), aims to establish modern infrastructure for food processing industries in close proximity to production areas. By focusing on basic enabling infrastructure and core facilities, the scheme endeavors to enhance the efficiency, quality, and competitiveness of the food processing sector.

Objectives

  1. Infrastructure Development: Create modern infrastructure to support food processing industries near production areas.
  2. Promote Proximity: Encourage the establishment of processing clusters close to raw material sources to reduce transportation costs and ensure product freshness.
  3. Facilitate Investment: Provide financial assistance to attract investment and promote the setting up of food processing units.

Components of the Scheme

  1. Basic Enabling Infrastructure:

    • Industrial Plots: Development of designated industrial plots suitable for food processing activities.
    • Boundary Wall: Construction of perimeter boundary walls for security and privacy.
    • Roads and Drainage: Establishment of internal roads and drainage systems for smooth operation.
    • Water and Electricity Supply: Provision of reliable water and electricity supply, including power backup facilities.
    • Effluent Treatment Plant: Installation of treatment facilities to manage wastewater in an environmentally sustainable manner.
    • Parking Bay and Weighbridges: Construction of designated parking areas and weighbridges for transportation and logistics management.
    • Common Office Space: Creation of shared office spaces for administrative and managerial functions.
    • Firefighting and Safety: Installation of firefighting equipment and safety measures to ensure a secure working environment.
    • Labor Rest Room and Security Guard Room: Provision of rest areas for workers and dedicated spaces for security personnel.
  2. Core Infrastructure/Common Facilities:

    • Food Testing Laboratory: Establishment of a state-of-the-art laboratory for quality assurance and compliance with regulatory standards.
    • Cleaning, Grading, Sorting, and Packing Facilities: Installation of equipment for cleaning, grading, sorting, and packaging of raw materials and finished products.
    • Steam Generation Boilers: Deployment of boilers for steam generation required in various processing activities.
    • Dry Warehouse: Construction of warehouses equipped for the storage of dry goods and ingredients.
    • Cold Storage, Pre-cooling Chambers, and Ripening Chambers: Creation of temperature-controlled storage facilities to maintain the freshness and quality of perishable products.
    • Individual Quick Freezing (IQF) and Specialized Packaging: Implementation of freezing technology and specialized packaging solutions to extend the shelf life and enhance marketability of processed foods.

Land Area Requirement

  • Minimum Requirement: 10 Acres
  • Urban Areas Exception: 5 Acres (Vertical Development in lieu of 10-acre requirement)

Other Conditions

  • Minimum Investment: At least 5 food processing units with a minimum investment of ₹25 Crores must be established within the project to be eligible for the scheme.
  • Eligibility for CEFPPC Grant: Projects meeting the investment criteria are also eligible to take grant under the Scheme of Creation/Expansion of Food Processing and Preservation Capacities (CEFPPC) of MoFPI.

Financial Assistance

  • Grant-in-aid:
    • General Areas: 35% of the project cost.
    • North East States, Himalayan States, ITDP Areas, SC/ST Candidates, FPOs, and SHGs: 50% of the project cost.
  • Maximum Grant Ceiling: ₹10 Crores

Implementation Plan

  1. Project Initiation:

    • Submission of detailed project proposals by interested parties.
    • Assessment of proposals for feasibility and eligibility criteria.
  2. Infrastructure Development:

    • Execution of construction and installation activities as per approved project plans.
    • Monitoring of progress to ensure timely completion and adherence to quality standards.
  3. Operational Phase:

    • Commencement of operations by food processing units within the established infrastructure.
    • Utilization of facilities for processing, storage, and quality assurance activities.
  4. Monitoring & Evaluation:

    • Regular monitoring of project implementation and performance.
    • Evaluation of outcomes in terms of increased investment, employment generation, and overall impact on the food processing sector.

Conclusion

The Agro Processing Cluster Scheme is a strategic initiative by MoFPI to catalyze the development of modern infrastructure for the food processing sector. By providing financial assistance for basic enabling and core facilities, the scheme aims to attract investment, promote proximity to production areas, and foster growth and innovation in the industry.

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