Karnataka agri-business summit attracts Rs.78,000-crore investments

December 1st, 2011 - 4:33 pm ICT by IANS  

State Bank of India Bangalore, Dec 1 (IANS) India’s first global agri-business and food processing summit began in this tech hub Thursday on a bang, attracting investment proposals of over Rs.78,000 crore from a lead bank and about 30 private players.

As the lead investor, the state-run State Bank of India (SBI) signed an agreement with the state government to invest Rs.40,000 crore in funding agri-business projects in partnership with the private sector.

Among the leading firms which signed agreements to invest in the state are Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd with Rs.15,000 crore in agri-business projects, Wadhawan Mega Infrastructure Ltd Rs.10,000 crore in corridor of excellence, knowledge hub and post-harvest infrastructure.

Similarly, Welspun Infratech Ltd plans to invest Rs.5,000 crore in agri-business infrastrcuture, Marg Ltd Rs.4,000 crore in agro-industrial clusters and agri infrastructure and Akshayakalpa Farms & Food Ltd Rs,1,000 crore in agri-based enterprise models, organic milk and milk products’ manufacturing units.

“We have also signed agreements with another 23 firms on the first day of the two-day summit for an additional investments of Rs.3,674 crore in agri infrastructure, food processng, horticulture and sericulture,” state agriculture department secretary Sandeep Dave told reporters here.

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who was to inaugurate the summit, could not do so as he was pre-occupied with the parliament session in New Delhi.

Opposition leader in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, who was invited to preside over the inaugural session, too was absent for the same reason.

In their absence, state Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda unveiled the summit in the presence of a dozen state ministers and scores of offcials from the central and state governments.

“As agriculture and farmers’ welfare are main priorities of our government, the agri-business summit is intended to attract domestic and overseas investments in the farm sector and food processing,” Gowda said in his presidential address.

In the run-up to the summit, the state government has come out with an agriculture business development policy to attract investments in the sector, which accounts for 16 percent of the state’s gross domestic product.

“The main objective of the summit is to ensure sustainable growth in the sector with avenues to generate more income to the farming community through productivity, access to markets and remunerative prices,” Gowda observed.

The new policy envisages comprehensive development of agriculture and allied sectors, extending linkages between agriculture and industries across the state and procuring latest technology and capital from domestic and overseas investors in the sector.

“We are committed to make the agriculture sector a profitable occupation by attracting private investment through the summit,” Gowda reiterated.

Karnataka is one of the few states in the country which escaped soil deterioration due to natural interventions and judicious use of land. The state has rich soil nutrients, including manganese, potassium, sulphur and nitrogen.

“We are the first state in the country to have a separate budget for the agriculture sector with an outlay of Rs.17,857 crore in this fiscal (2011-12). About Rs.1,000 crore has been earmarked for providing Rs.10,000 each to one million farmers to rejuvenate their lands,” Gowda recalled.

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd vice chairman Anand Mahindra was the guest of honour at the hour-long opening session, in which about 1,000 delegates attended.

France, Israel and the Netherlands are among the leading countries participating in the summit to showcase their farming technologies and products.

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