In view of having a dynamic food processing sector, Tamil Nadu State officials analyzed the agro-climatic conditions of the various districts and shortlisted certain locations for the development of an integrated Food Park. In collaboration with SIPCOT (State Industries Promotion Corporation Of Tamil Nadu), the state has plans to develop four food parks in Theni, Manapparai, Nagapattinam and Tindivanam.
“This sector plays a vital role in the reduction in the wastage of perishable agricultural produce, enhancing the shelf life of food products, ensuring value addition to agricultural produce, diversification & commercialization of agriculture, generation of employment, enhancing the income of farmers and creating surplus for the export of agro & processed foods. In this era of economic liberalization, all segments including private, public and co-operative sectors have defined roles to play and the State wishes to promote their active participation,” said officials from SIPCOT in mail responses.
The Food Park concept facilitates the state-of-the-art technology, know-how & avenues for production, processing, and marketing of the product apart from investments by the private sector in developing the much-needed Agri infrastructure & agro-based industry units fairly and transparently for ensuring sustainable agribusiness development in the State and thereby uplifting the Food processing image of the State.
Each food park in these regions is being developed to cater for the specialized need and demands of the region.
Theni and Manapparai Food Park are designed to cater to all food processing value chain crops as the region is abundant in Fruits & Vegetables, and some may be imported from the neighboring states.
Nagapattinam Food Park would focus on marine food processing industries and located in the Delta region, the agro-climatic zone will blend the local attributes of rendering the agriculture sustainable and enhancing the value of both the cereals and terrestrial agriculture-based foods, and sea-based foods.
Tindivanam Food Park, on the account of its proximity to attract adjacent Urban market nodes comprising of dry food processing units, Ready to Eat (RTE) and Ready to Cook (RTC) food processing units, and marine food processing industries in addition to its closeness to the National Highway (NH) 32 connecting the State Capital with other parts of Tamil Nadu.
“The concept of core manufacturing is envisaged to cater for the growing needs of the global market and the regional market; it is imperative to uplift the food processing value of the Country. The economy of scale is an important feature in the concept of integrated Food Park operation,” said officials from SIPCOT in mail responses.
Basic Infrastructure in Each Food Parks
The other main focal point of the Food Park is to have a symbiotic collaboration between firms and industries that yields financial and environmental benefits through the exchange of complementary resources. Companies can also share utilities such as energy, water, and wastewater treatment, and services such as transportation, landscaping, and waste collection.
Besides sharing common technical infrastructure in a cluster environment, that many SMEs may not be able to afford individually, can have common facility centers for assisting the occupant units or cluster members in procedures related to securing finance and complying with industry standards and government regulations
Food Parks are normally accompanied by Core processing facilities such as Primary Processing Centers, (PPC) which act as nodal points, connecting farmers to the Food Park through Collection Centers (CCs) & PPC along with Central Processing Centre (CPC), factory buildings, and enabling basic infrastructure in addition to the non-core infrastructure facilities. The PPC will have primary processing facilities, cold and dry storage facilities, and improved agro-logistics systems.
Similarly, the specialized infrastructure with facilities such as QC labs, quality certification centers, testing centers, warehouses is collectively represented as CPC. Also, the non-core infrastructure such as the associated commercial and supporting social infrastructure constitute an integral part of the development of the Food Park.
Food Park Amenities
Each Food Park is inferred to have a net developable processing area that accounts for 100 -150 acres only. Nagapattinam is estimated to hold 60 units in 100 acres, Tindivanam to hold 60 units in 120 acres, Theni to hold 30 units in 150 acres and Manapparai to hold 30 units, total land extent was not shared.
“A well-developed backwards and forward linkage with synergy creation among the occupant units is essential for the sustenance of the Food Park. The Food Park shall have to focus on benchmarking its facility configuration and processes to international standards to improve performance, governance standards, efficiency, market value, which shall, in turn, enhance the competitiveness,” said SIPCOT officials.
SIPCOT would provide for all the requisite support to the Food Processing units wherever required. However, the end responsibility of the Logistics, Supply Chain and Marketing would be that of the promoters of the Food Processing units. The state has a single desk window clearance to provide time-bound approval. All statutory approvals to be obtained would receive support from SIPCOT to avail the applicable subsidies, incentives, licensing, and regulatory frameworks required for the project through the Government of Tamil Nadu.
The general infrastructure is an important and integral element of the core manufacturing zones. These shall include graded plots, roads, power, water, and communications. Apart, drainage, sewerage, Sewage Treatment Plant (STP), Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP), storm water drains, rainwater harvesting and firefighting. Besides this, the entrepreneurs can avail the benefits from the state government launched industrial policy 2020-21 and exclusive food processing policy 2018. It provides incentives in terms of the land rebate, stamp duty, power, and GST to encourage/ support Greenfield projects.
Technological and Environmental Up-gradation
The major issue faced in the country is the allocation of remunerative prices to the farmers for their produce. The food park is believed to provide greater opportunities for adding to the income of farmers along with employment if the productivity is increased through technological interventions along with better marketing of the end product within the State and Country.
“The potential entrepreneurs shall set up their units using the technology meeting their business requirements. The role of SIPCOT is to provide a suitable ecosystem for the entrepreneurs to set up their units in the Food Park and shall have no direct say in the Technology being adopted by them,” said SIPCOT officials.
The proposed Food Park can be classified as an Eco-Food Park zone if the communities cooperate and share resources. These types of cluster activities can receive their denomination of eco-Food Park. It is also possible to develop green infrastructure or foster scavenger companies in the Food Park.
“Firms and industries do not accomplish the goals of environmental sustainability in isolation. The networks of social, professional and exchange relationships embed the organization with other organizational actors. Thus, the concept of up-keeping the environmental profile of the nearby and surrounding regions of the Food Park is key to the sustainable development and operation of the Food Park over the years,” said the officials.
In this context, the Food Park to be developed in Tindivanam and in Nagapattinam shall encompass a complete peripheral green buffer of 15 m width all around the boundary of the delineated area that is expected to minimize the effect of air pollution in surrounding locations due to the Food Park operations. In addition, the project shall have an integrated state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant and effluent treatment, both centralized & decentralized, centralized solid waste handling facility including sheds for centralized processing of the solid waste within the proposed Food Park as per the norms of the Developer.
Status Of the Food Parks
Better employment and livelihood options along with up-gradation of nearby educational infrastructure can be expected in these regions. Furthermore, the development of existing industrial and manufacturing activity will improve marketing and supply chain networks. The fruits, vegetables, seafood and condiments producing activity in the region have been in initial stages is expected to pick up further due to adjoining growing areas and their higher demand.
The Nagapattinam and Tindivanam Food Park shall be developed in a phase-wise manner. At present, the design and detailed engineering phase are underway. Upon completion of the same, the required clearances and licenceslicenses shall be obtained by the Developer (herein SIPCOT) and the construction activities shall commence soon.
The Development of the proposed Food Park at Manapparai is expected to commence shortly with it expecting to bring in an investment of around INR 300-INR 350 Crore including both domestic and foreign investment.
The Theni Food Park development is expected to commence shortly as soon as the Environmental Clearance is obtained (which is currently in progress) with expected to bring in an investment of around INR 400-INR 450 Crore including both domestic and foreign investment.
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