Bhubaneshwar: The Odisha minister for MSME, Dibya Shankar Mishra, Wednesday said that the State has the potential to become the hub of food processing industries in the eastern region.

” With the country’s agro and food processing sector expected to reach a size of US $530 billion by 2020, Odisha has been facilitating creation of an ideal business eco-system to make the state a hub in the eastern region”, the minister told potential investors in an interaction session, organised by the State government concern Ipicol, here on Wednesday.

The minister said that the food processing sector is one of the most promising sectors in the state of Odisha with a high potential to grow in the future. Odisha is endowed with natural resources, long coastline and favorable climatic conditions for production of a variety of agri-produce, fruits, vegetables and marine produce, he added.

In a bid to persuade the investors to put their money in Odisha’s food processing sector, Mishra assured, “The Government will assist all the investors and industrialist to set up units in the state.”

The State industries and MSME secretary, Hemant Sharma, said: “With availability of raw materials, 10 agro-climatic zones, agriculture resources, sea food, farming landscape, adequate cold storage capacity and easy connectivity to ASEAN region, Odisha has all the ingredients required for the food processing and seafood sector to flourish in the State.” “We are further providing several subsidies to encourage investors to choose Odisha,” he added.

Ipicol MD Nitin Jawale, in his presentation on National Food Processing Policy Ecosystem, emphasized on how the food processing industry is of enormous significance as it provides vital linkages and synergies that it promotes between the two pillars of the economy- agriculture and industry.

Jawale said that investment opportunities are available in sub-sectors like fisheries, poultry, cereals, fruits and vegetables, nuts, spices and packaging of food products. There is also opportunity for investments in infrastructures like Integrated Food Parks, cold storages and supporting Infrastructure, besides backward integration and skill development.

Ipicol’s session on food processing sector enlighten potential investors and current stakeholders about the investment opportunities available in the state. The state’s robust, dedicated and entrepreneur friendly food processing policy and guidelines which make Odisha a favourable destination for investing in food processing sector were highlighted in course of the session.

The session was attended by Odisha Lift Irrigation Corporation Ltd.(OLIC) managing director Archana Patnaik, horticulture director Bijay Ketan Upadhyay, forest and environment special secretary Debidutta Biswal, and industries additional director SK Hota.

Successful entrepreneurs of the State like Om Oil & Foods Ltd. chairman Sarat K Sahoo, B-One Business House Pvt. Ltd. commercial director Rajen Padhi, Hindustan Coca Cola Beverage cluster head Raman Goel shared their experiences of the Ease of Doing Business with the state and spotlighted industry department’s Single Window portal, GO SWIFT to promote a conducive business environment through transparency and time-bound clearances.