Karnataka holding agri-biz summit to woo investmentsNovember 25th, 2011 - 9:52 pm ICT by IANS
Bangalore, Nov 25 (IANS) The Karnataka government is holding a two-day global agri-business and food processing summit here Dec 1-2 to attract huge investment in the farm sector.
“As agriculture and farmers’ welfare are main priorities of our government, we are holding the agri-business summit for the first time to attract domestic and overseas investments in the farm sector and food processing,” Chief Minister D.V. Sadnanada Gowda told reporters here.
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 (GDP).
The agriculture sector has a potential to attract Rs.51,700 crore, including Rs.36,000 crore to set up special facilities for agri-food processing industries in the agri business investment regions across the state, Rs.8,000 crore for support facilities, Rs.4,762 crore in allied areas and Rs.1,380 crore in dryland farming.
“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 pointed out.
Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar will inaugurate the summit at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) on the outskirts of the city.
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 asserted.
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 were 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.
Former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa presented the agriculture budget in February along with the state budget for this fiscal to empower farmers with innovative schemes like farm loans at one percent interest per annum, seeds and fertilizers at concession rates and supply of agri inputs.
“We propose to set up an agriculture infrastructure fund with an initial capital of Rs.500 crore to attract investment in the farm sector and allied areas,” Gowda said.
The state government has also set up a special purpose vehicle - Karnataka Agri-Business Development Board to monitor investments in the farm sector.
“Though the Netherlands will be the partner country of the summit, we have been able to attract Australia, Israel and France to participate in the summit to showcase their product and technologies in the farm sector,” state agriculture minister Umesh V. Katti said.
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