Kerala to Form Cluster for Farmers in Agro-based Industries: Minister Jayarajan

The Kerala government is forming a cluster featuring farmers and entrepreneurs of agro-based industries, state Industries Minister E P Jayarajan said today.

Also afoot is a move to set up an academy that will study the viability of such business ventures and their international market, he told ASCEND 2020 Kerala Global Investors Meet here.

Making opening remarks at a panel discussion titled ‘Projects on Agro and Food Processing’, the minister said agro-based firms would be the future of industry in Kerala. “In fact, we are considering the establishment of coffee plantations that are devoid of carbon footprint,” he added after a snapshot presentation that walked through top project profiles in the field of agro and food processing. “The idea is to restore Kerala’s glory in coffee cultivation, more so in its homestead of hilly Wayanad.”

Jayarajan said a steady slip in the prices of rubber and coffee, along with general tendency among farmers to keep away from paddy cultivation, had led to a recent slump in Kerala’s agro industry sector.

Of late, Kerala has seen the birth of rubber firms that cater to the healthcare needs in hospitals. The KINFRA Park in upstate Kanhangad (Kasargod district) is set to allot a two-acre plot for investors in firms manufacturing coconut products. There is a separate rice park for paddy-based products, the minister added.

TiE Kerala former president Shivdas B Menon hailed the moves and said time was ideal for Kerala to give fresh impetus to agro and food processing.

KINFRA Managing Director Santhosh Koshy Thomas emphasized the need for Kerala to have storage facilities for agro products, while Amalgam Food Group Chairman Abraham J Tharakan called for a system that restrained the use of pesticides in farming.

Parisons Group General Manager Hijaaz Ali Raza said market continued to be a major challenge for industries in agro and food processing. ASCEND 2020 Kerala was inaugurated on Thursday by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and aims to further reform ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in the state.


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