Union Minister for Food Processing Industry Harsimrat Kaur Badal said food items worth `45,000 crore were wasted every year in the country. She said this while inaugurating the International Mega Food Park that was set up at a cost of `136 crore. This is the fourth such park set up in the country. Every year food items ranging between 6-18 per cent were wasted. We are ranked first in the world in milk production, second in wheat production and third in fisheries. However, only 10 per cent of the produce is utilized by the food processing industry. There was huge potential for growth in this sector. This could be gauged from the fact the sector was growing at 8.6 per cent against the industrial growth rate of 6 per cent and agriculture growth of 3 per cent. The key companies on board for this project are Graincorp, the world’s largest handlers of malt (used only in pharmaceuticals), Creambell, Bector Foods and Nestle. Over 200 farmers and some entrepreneurs attended the function. On the occasion, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal said diversification would become a reality with the creation of more food parks. He said ITC would set up the next food park in Kapurthala at a cost of Rs.1000 crore. Sukhbir said farmers could earn as much as `1 lakh to 1.5 lakh per month by supplying their produce to various food parks. Chief Managing Director (CMD) Sukhinder Singh said the park was generating employment for the local youth. (Source: The Tribune, Chandigarh, December 14, 2014)
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