Punjab: Agri value chain gets a shot in the arm

By Vijay C Roy          

From strengthening self-help groups (SHGs) to investing in agri value chain, corporate sector, including banks, have lined up expansion plans for Punjab.

The initiatives would not only help in strengthening backward integration, but would also assist in increasing the farmers’ income.

Hinduja’s promoted IndusInd Bank has earmarked a separate sum for micro financing. “During the Progressive Punjab Investors’ summit in Mohali, the Hinduja Group said the bank has earmarked Rs 2,000 crore for micro financing, especially women entrepreneurs and self-help groups. In addition, they also agreed to finance infrastructure spread across agri value chain, like small cold storage for marginal farmers. The bank will also finance balers and happy seeders to check stubble-burning,”said Rajya Sabha, MP, Vikramjit Singh Sahney.

The MP said the UAE-based retail major, Lulu Group, would invest in agri value chain in Dera Bassi. “The state is all set to attract major investment in agri value chain for preservation, grading and sorting of fruits and vegetables,” said Sahney, adding that the processed produce would be retailed through Lulu Group’s over 230 hypermarkets and shopping malls in 22 countries.

A mega cold chain facility would also be developed by the Lulu Group and total investment would be done to the tune of Rs 150 crore. The group has already acquired 40 acres of land for the purpose. At present, Lulu Group has a meat processing plant in Dera Bassi.

The MP said the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) was establishing Basmati Rice Export and Pesticides Research Centre in Tarn Taran.

Moreover, the Hinduja Group has also shown interest to manufacture electric vehicles in Punjab, besides opening a driver training institute in partnership with the government.

This article has been republished from The Tribune.