VISAKHAPATNAM: While the concept of plug and play has become synonymous with tech parks in the country, the idea is now being utilised in developing an integrated food park in Vizianagaram district to process different varieties of crops.
AP Food Processing Society sources said the first-of-its-kind integrated food park is being developed at Varakattu Village in Cheepurapalli mandal of Vizianagaram district on an area of around 37 acres at a cost of Rs 50 crore. Known as the North Coastal Integrated Food Park, it is expected to provide infrastructure facilities such as dry and finished good warehouses, cold storage, sorting areas, grading, packing lines, common equipment for food processing units, factory sheds for micro small entrepreneur units, workers hostel, changing rooms and marketing support rooms. In addition to this, the facility is also expected to have a training centre, testing laboratory, restaurant, sewage and effluent treatment plants and rain harvest pond.
The food park is expected to include units which would cater to processing of cashew, strawberries, pine apple, jackfruit and tamarind among others.
Speaking to TOI, APFPS CEO YS Prasad said, "The integrated food park will have around 10 units out of which construction work for the anchor unit has already started. This will be advantageous for farmers in and around Vizianagaram, Srikakulam and Visakhapatnam districts."
NV Rama Raju of North Coastal Integrated Food Park said the project is aimed to facilitate upcoming food processing units by providing core, non-core and basic infrastructure for encouraging food processing units for setting up their units in the food park. He said, "The farmers of Cheepurapalli mandal in Vizianagaram, Ranashthalam mandal and other mandals in Srikakulam district and neighbouring Ganjam district in Odisha are having a raw cashew nut produce of more than 2.5 lakh metric tonne per annum. Majority of the produce is being sold to Kerala cashew factories. When this type of integrated food park is developed, farmers will have huge production of raw cashew nuts and when more cashew processing units are coming up in this type of food park, employment for around 5000 people will be available."
"Our objective is to achieve integration of food processing infrastructure from farm to the market as well as making food processing an all season activity," he added.