Amid the growing focus on modernization of Agriculture to make it more sustainable and progressive for the farmers, the Captain Amarinder Singh led government is set to leverage the upcoming Progressive Punjab Investors Summit 2019 to reach out to some of the world’s leading FMCG companies for partnering the state in boosting the sector.
The summit comes at a time when the Agriculture sector is in the limelight over the air pollution caused by stubble burning, and the state government is going all out to promote mechanization to get rid of the paddy straw. The World Economic Forum (WEF) is extending full support to the Punjab government in its efforts to build and strengthen a more sustainable agri sector.
PPIS2019 will serve as a platform to promote new initiatives and adoption of technologies for the betterment of the Agri sector through adoption of clean agri practices. It will aim to enhance farmer incomes and helping them move up the value chain. The summit will also help garner support for the agri-focused startups that have come up in large numbers in the state over the past couple of years and have proved their merit at international platforms for their unique digital and sustainable agriculture solutions.
Top agri players like ITC, Godrej Tyson, Hariyalee Seeds, Spain’s Congelados De Navarra and IFFCO have confirmed their participation in the summit, which will highlight the potential opportunities of growth in this sector as well as the strengths of the Punjab ecosystem.
Spain’s Congelados De Navarra and IFFCO have, in fact, already entered a JV to set up their 1st food processing facility outside Europe. With a committed investment of INR 523cr, the venture is set to support ~10,000 farmers and procure 150,000 Tonnes from farmers every year.
Steering this positivity in the sector is Punjab’s Industrial and Business Development 2017 Policy, which identifies Agri and Food Processing as thrust sectors and offers liberal incentives. The state offers a strong infra ecosystem to facilitate the growth of the Food Processing plants through the 3 Mega Food Parks at Fazilka, Ludhiana (Ladhowal) and Phagwara. The State also houses 153+ Agriculture Produce Market (in the form of Committees / Mandis, 3110 Purchase Centers and 5 Agri Export Zone). Punjab is also in the process of setting up primary processing centres at Abohar, Hoshiarpur, Sri Amritsar Sahib and Talwandi Sabo to support the companies investing in the Food Parks.
Many leading companies have started harnessing the opportunity offered by the state to invest in the sector. Varun Beverages (Pepsi) got their 1st first fully backward integrated facility, to produce PepsiCo's beverage portfolio items, became fully operational earlier this year, within 10 months of application to Invest Punjab. Sukhjit Mega Food Park (Phagwara) is investing INR 152cr for their maize processing facility, to help boost the state government’s crop diversification efforts.
The Allana Group, India's largest exporter of processed food products and agro commodities, is coming up with a Meat processing plant with INR 125cr in committed investment, while Verka Mega Dairy plant is being built with a total investment of INR 358cr. Ludhiana Beverages (Coca Cola) is planning a further expansion of INR 200-300cr in Hoshiarpur, and Lulu Group of UAE has acquired an existing Meat Processing plant in Derabassi. The fact that it is their first meat plant outside UAE speaks of the growing confidence of domestic and global players in Punjab’s strong and favourable business eco-system.
While these investments are actively contributing the state’s economic growth and employment generation, as well as progress for the farming community, the state is also aggressively pursuing the policy of promoting entrepreneurship to further its development agenda. A large number of Punjab-based startups are making it big in the Agri sector globally. AgNext Technologies is one the top five winners of the SustainableAg Asia Challenge held by Rabobank on October 10, 2019 in Singapore, while A2P Energy Solution won the top prize of $100,000 at Global Makers Challenge 2019 under sustainable energy category during Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit held recently in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg. A2P Energy Solutions is setting up bio-energy plants in Punjab for converting paddy straw into energy products
MoooFarm is an innovative AgriTech company that enhances rural farmers’ access to better technology by inserting a complete dairy farm management tool with a built in e-commerce platform into the dairy farming process of rural India. MoooFarm solution for facial recognition of cattle won a $30,000 prize from a World Bank group entity in the Data Analytics category in July 2019.
These investments have set the stage for propelling the state’s Agri and Food Processing industry, which the summit promises to scale to a new high at the back of Punjab’s favourable industrial climate.