Bhubaneswar: With Odisha being essentially an agrarian State and agriculture considered the lifeline of Odisha’s economy, the Odisha Government has decided to improve production and productivity with sustainable agricultural practices, raise farmers’ income by promoting efficient production technology, post-harvest solutions, value-addition and remunerative market options.
“The State Government is committed to accelerating inclusive and a sustainable growth in the farm sector, arguably the most vital in the State’s economy,” Mr Pradeep Maharathy, Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment, Fisheries & Animal Resources Development, Panchayati Raj & Drinking Water, Government of Odisha, told a large assembly of industry leaders, experts from research agencies at the Krushi Odisha – Odisha Investor Summit: Session on Opportunities in Agriculture and Sea Food Processing Sector in Odisha jointly organized by Odisha’s Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Notably, a Compendium of Investible Projects in Agriculture & Allied Sectors in Odisha, was released at the Inaugural Session of the Summit.
It is high time investors started looking at Odisha as one of the most investible states, Mr Maharathy said.
“Increase in farm production and productivity are essential for providing food security to the vast majority of the population and achieving significant growth in their income levels,” Mr Maharathy said, adding that organic farming is being promoted in around 16000 acre through Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) in 10 districts.
According to Mr Maharathy, Farm Information Advisory Centres have been established in every block to enhance the outreach of extension network. “MoU has been signed between APICOL and State Bank of India to improve credit linkage for agri enterprises in October, 2017,” he said.
“This year we have taken a giant leap in converting our state agricultural exhibition towards making it a national event as Krushi Odisha. I welcome you all to this maiden initiative of the Government of Odisha in association with CII,” he said.
“The Odisha Government is keen to motivate young people to consider agriculture and allied areas as a source of their livelihood. For that the State Government has come out with a number policies to give agriculture a big boost and make agriculture a source of sustainable livelihood for people,” said Mr Prafulla Samal, Minister for MSME, Social Security & Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Women & Child Development, Government of Odisha.
Dr Saurabh Garg, IAS, Principal Secretary Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment, Government of Odisha; said with a big exhibition of latest farm equipment (to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister, Mr Naveen Patnaik in the evening), and the four-day Krushi Pathsala, Krushi Odisha will go a long way in encouraging farmers to embrace mechanization, diversify crops, increase productivity and enhance income and attract investments. “More than 10,000 farmers from across 30 districts in Odisha will join four-day Krushi Pathsala where experts from various agricultural domains will educate farmers in modern agricultural practices and provide hands-on training in how they can enhance cropping intensity and improve high-yielding varieties of seeds.
Mr Amarendra Dash, Past Chairman, CII Odisha State Council, and Chairman, Suryo Udyog Ltd; said the need of the hour is to build a sustainable cold chain connecting farms to cities, and also to help small farmers develop entrepreneurial agri-businesses serving the growing urban middle class.
“You will be happy to note that the state government plans to set up 1264 more godowns across state with total storage capacity of 3.5 lakh metric tonne by 2020. The Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries has approved two Food Parks – and two cold chain projects in the state,” he said.
Mr M Muthukumar, IAS, Director, Agriculture & Food Production, Odisha; and Ms Nita Karmakar, Regional Director, CII East and North East, were also present at the inaugural session.
There was also a Panel Discussion on Food Processing and on Farm Processing where the speakers were Ms Ranjana Chopra, IAS, Commissioner-cum-Secretary to Government, Co-operation Department; Mr V K Sinha, Chief Operating Officer, Paradeep Phosphates Ltd; Mr Srikumar Misra, Founder, MD & CEO, Milk Mantra; and Mr Pradipta Sahoo, Business Head (Safal), Mother Dairy Fruits & Vegetables Pvt. Ltd.
There was another Panel Discussion on Investment Opportunity through Private Equity featuring Mr Rajesh Srivastava, Chairman and Managing Director, Rabo Equity Advisors; Mr Sunil Sanghai, Founder & CEO, Nova Dhruva Capital Pvt Ltd; Mr Sujoy Bose, Chief Executive officer, National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) Ltd; and Mr Gopal Srinivasan, Chairman, Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association.
The Summit also included a Panel Discussion on Sea Food Processing where the speakers were Mr P K Senapati, IAS; Director, Fisheries, Government of Odisha; Mr T Dola Sankar, Director – Marketing – MPEDA; Dr Kamlesh Mishra, President, Seafood Exporters’ Association of India, Mr Rajen Padhi, Director General, Utkal Chamber of Commerce & Industry Ltd; and Mr Rizwan Soomar, MD & CEO, Hindustan Ports Ltd.
ITC is exploring possibilities of investments in organic farming and aqua cultivation
ITC is exploring possibilities of investments in organic farming and aqua cultivation in Odisha. “Yes, an exercise has begun, and we are very positive about it. We hope that things will fructify in a couple of years,” said Mr P P Venkat Ram Redddy, General Manager – Industry Affairs, ITC Ltd (Agri Business Division), on the sidelines of the Meet.