Jammu, Jan 22 (PTI) The Jammu and Kashmir administration has launched an ambitious Rs 879 crore project targeted to revolutionise the food-processing sector and transform the lives of farmers in the Union Territory, an official spokesman said.
The UT-level food processing programme for development of clusters for specific products of J&K is an initiative that aims to maximize farmer income and minimize post-harvest losses, the spokesman said.
He said the comprehensive project has been designed to increase the competitiveness of seven identified products across categories in terms of cost, quality, branding, and sustainability within five years.
"The government is investing in value-addition, logistics, marketing and branding of various Agriculture, Horticulture and livestock products to achieve this goal.
“The project will focus on developing 17 districts in J&K with establishment of processing and marketing infrastructure, providing growth and development opportunities to stakeholders and facilitating suitable economies of scale in production and post-harvest activities,” the spokesman said.
He said the government has allocated a budget of Rs 879.75 crore for the project including a grant-in-aid of Rs 293.25 crore (33.33 per cent) and a debt-equity of Rs 586.50 crore to be raised by entrepreneurs.
"The project shall create 7,030 direct jobs and lead to establishment of 34 enterprises with expected revenue generation to the tune of Rs 1436.04 crore every year,” he said.
Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Production Department Atal Dulloo said the project represents a beacon of hope for farmers in J&K, who have been facing challenges such as post-harvest losses that are generally in the range of 15-20 per cent and the wastage of 20 per cent of the total fruit produced due to non-availability of packaging and processing facilities and mismatch between production and post-harvest management.
"The government's investment in this project is expected to address these issues and help farmers to better price realization and enhance their income by creating competitiveness across the entire value chain," he added.
In the next five years, he said Jammu and Kashmir will have a dynamic food processing, food packaging and storage infrastructure with dedicated support services including farm-level logistics and transportation, marketing infrastructure and cluster branding.
“This project is a step towards a brighter future for farmers and the food-processing sector in J&K,” he said. PTI TAS MR 4/17/2022 ANB MR MR